SUTR protest in London SUTR protest in London

As the establishment mires itself in hypocrisy and denial, the movement on the streets mobilises solidarity against racism, reports Orlando Hill

The crowd that gathered outside the Home Office for the national demo represented the most diverse range of people. The demo was called by Stand Up to Racism and the TUC.  There were banners from various trade unions and their districts, NEU, Royal College of Midwives, Unison, Unite, TSSA, and PCS.

The speakers reflected the diversity of the crowd. There were speakers representing the various trade unions and communities, Sudanese, Senegalese, Jews, and Muslims among others. A representative of the Romani community got the crowd to chant in Romani, ‘Rishi, kiss my arse’.

David Rosenberg, in an emotional speech, introduced himself as a Jew who feels safe in central London on a weekend. ‘I’ve been in central London every week marching and demanding a ceasefire. We’ve been received with love and friendship.’ He accused Michael Gove of wanting to split Jews and Muslims. He had some advice for Gove; ‘If you want to fight extremism, split your party from the far-right parties in Europe.’ In his opinion, the Tory party is not just the nasty party; it is also the dangerous party. And Labour is not much better in their pathetically weak response to racism and Islamophobia.

Steve Smith (MBE and CEO of Care for Calais) said he wasn’t ‘taking any lesson from Rishi Sunak’s government, whose party takes money from racists.’ He urged the crowd to ‘organise to defeat this government. Unity is our strength.’

Diane Abbott was mentioned by many of the speakers who sent their solidarity. Maryam Eslamdoust, general secretary of the TSSA, reminded us that Abbott remains suspended from the Labour Party with the threat of being expelled for discussing how communities experience racism differently. John McDonnell said he stood in solidarity with ‘my friend and comrade Diane Abbott’. He continued to say that: ‘We are marching against fascism in the heart of the government. If the Labour Party wants to be seen as an anti-racist party, Starmer has to reinstate the whip to Diane Abbott.’

Lindsey German, representing the Stop the War Coalition, was one of the last speakers before the rally marched to Parliament Square. ‘We have the most racist government ever in Britain.’ This is going to be the most racist election ever. We must organise to defeat this government. The government practices racism aboard by supporting Israel’s genocidal attacks on Gaza, which is opposed by the majority of the British public. To cover up this fact, the government tries to demonise Palestinians and our demonstrations. After the 7 October attacks there has been a rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. But there is a difference. Islamophobia is being driven by the government and the media. She reminded the crowd that we represent a proud tradition of standing up against racism. That is the true British value.

Orlando Hill

Orlando was born in Brazil and was involved in the successful struggle for democracy in the late 1970s and 80s in that country. He teaches A level Economics. He is a member of the NEU, Counterfire and Stop the War.

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