- Wednesday, 31 October 2012
- Written by Richard V.
On the Saturday morning of the NF demonstration , Dave and I had to go through police ' customs' to get through a door in the steel barrier that the police had erected at the bottom of All Saints Square, in the town centre of Rotherham. We set up our stall with our two socialist banners at a key point in the Square and adjacent to the UAF stall and speakers position.
As we expected there was a large contingent of between 200-300 hundred local Muslims and other community Asians, a mixed crowd of mostly young people, but also along with older community leaders, local councillors and trade unionists. Local councillor Mahroof Hussain made a sterling speech explaining that the attempt by the EDL and the NF in spreading hatred among the solid working class communities of Rotherham would not succeed. This went down with huge cheers from the crowd many of whom were just itching to get among the fascist scum of the NF. With the NF gathering just around the corner with a miserable little gathering of between 30 and 40, ringed by around 50 police ,including four mounted on horseback, appeals for calm from community leaders were respected..
At around 12 noon the National Front, obviously getting the message that they had getter get of town whilst the going was good, started to move out of Rotherham centre moving towards the train station ringed by police. The Asian protestors and others charged forward towards them via the opening in the steel barrier but it was swiftly closed by police and the mounted police moved around to block the exit leading to the NF retreat so we were restricted to shouting loud chants - of "get out of Rotherham Fascist Scum" etc. etc and climbing on to the barrier There is no doubt in my mind that the NF would have suffered severe harm if these barriers and the police had not been there. I have never seen the Asian community so well organised and so angry at a United Against Fascism demo.
During the two hours of the Demo, the Socialist Appeal stall became a focal point for some really good discussion among our members and local activists, including a few black and Asian youths. We sold five Socialist Appeal papers and one book. The whole theme of the Demo was unity between all creeds and communities and we were proud to be part of the Demo and we will continue to support our black and Asian brothers and sisters.