Last Update 23:38
Sunday, 26 September 2021

Thousands of protesters take to UK streets against racism

Huge protests are expected in the UK amid warnings of an escalation of hatred, racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism

Marwan Sultan in London , Saturday 21 Mar 2015
An anti-racist banner at Stamford Bridge (Photo:Reuters)

Thousands of people are to take to the streets today in several UK cities to protest against racism and fascism.

The demonstrations will call on UK politicians to work harder to counter all forms of racism, including xenophobia and Islamophobia.

The protests, organised by more than a dozen groups and movements, are part of European activities on UN Anti-Racism Day, which commemorates the victims of the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, when 69 peaceful protesters against apartheid were killed by South Africa police.

Stand Up to Racism (SUR), the main organiser, says the core objective of the demonstrations is to reiterate that “we are the majority and we will stand up to racism.”

In London, protesters are assembling in front of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) to march to Trafalgar Square, close to government buildings and the Houses of Parliament.

The protesters will hold banners reading “No to Islamophobia #MuslimLivesMatter”, "From Ferguson to London #BlackLivesMatter”, “Stamp out Anti-Semitism” and “Immigrants are Welcome Here.”

Organisers include the Muslim Association of Britain, Operation Black Vote, NASUWT (the natonal teachers' union), Unite Against Fascism, the Migrants' Rights Network, and a number of other unions.

Many streets will be closed and police have been deployed in large numbers to protect the marches and keep public order.

The protests come around one month before upcoming general elections in the UK.

Politicians, members of parliament, authors, union leaders and artists are to speak to the protesters.        

Last year, over 10,000 people from across the country, including students, trade unionists, migrants, teachers, pensioners and people from all faiths and none, took part in protests in London to call for action on racism.

In a statement, SUR hopes this year activities “will send a powerful message to all politicians” before the general elections.

Many studies and organisations have warned of a recent escalation of hatred, racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism in the UK.

There has also been outcry against “institutional racism and police violence against non-white communities.” “This racist tide will only be driven back by you and me standing up and confronting it,” SUR's statement read.

SUR has called on all British citizens to “take this chance to make your voice heard.”

SUR states that if British society is serious about fighting extremism and creating a better world, people must be serious about standing up for justice and fairness, and "we must be serious about fighting all forms of prejudice."

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