Greater Manchester Unite Against Fascism - Press Release

Greater Manchester Unite Against Fascism
Press Release

For immediate release
Thursday, 5th March 2015

Peaceful Event will Celebrate Multicultural Manchester and show the EDL they are not welcome in our city

12 noon Piccadilly Gardens
Saturday, March 7th 2015

A peaceful celebration of multi-cultural Manchester will be held in Piccadilly Gardens this Saturday to show the racist and fascist English Defence League they are not welcome in our city.

The rally will be followed by a march through city centre streets to demonstrate that Manchester is an anti-racist city. Friends, families, neighbours and workmates will join our celebration of diversity as the EDL holds a static gathering.

Julie Ward, Member of the European Parliament for North West England, says:

“Manchester is the third most ethnically diverse city in the world. More than 200 languages are spoken here and this rich mix is good for the city.

“Working across Europe, I have seen the frightening spectre of xenophobic far-right parties who would seek to divide our communities. We must not let that happen in our proud multi-cultural Britain.

"I stood against the fascist BNP in last year's European elections and am proud to be part of an ongoing pro-active campaign to Stand Up to Racism. We owe it to those who gave their lives against the fascists of the last century to be vigilant now and speak out wherever and whenever we see, hear or witness racism. The EDL do not speak our language.”

The MEP was on the 3,000 strong march in Newcastle last week to protest against the anti Islamic Pegida party's rally. The fascists were vastly outnumbered by anti-racists but the MEP said EDL activists were “very apparent” at the rally.

Earlier this week, representatives from Greater Manchester UAF and legal representatives met with GMP to discuss how the police intend to operate this Saturday.

Legal representatives cited the excellent example in Newcastle when the people of the city were not prevented from expressing their absolute rejection of the attempt by the far-right Pegida party to promote racism there. Unite Against Fascism expects GMP to demonstrate the same level of maturity and anti-racist energy when they are deployed to deal with the EDL in Manchester on Saturday.

UAF stressed to the police that our rally and march will be peaceful and anti-racist. We expect the police to be on the alert for the kind of incitement to racial hatred and physical violence which have occurred in the past when the EDL have been allowed to gather in our city.

Trade unions will be supporting Manchester's multi-cultural event. In a message to the rally, Rena Wood, a UNISON representative on the North West TUC Executive Committee, says:

“UNISON has a very proud anti-racist history. Our anti-racist commitment is based on the principles of unity and solidarity.”

She condemned the scapegoating of migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum for a lack of jobs and shortage of housing, saying it was a threat to community cohesion.

Akaemia, a youth worker at the Hideaway Youth Project in Moss Side (which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year), has noticed a dramatic increase in racism on social media, both covert and blatant.

“It saddens me deeply as well as enraging me,” she says. “I love Moss Side and believe we can teach the rest of the world a lot about getting along with each other and embracing difference.”

Ron Senchak, President of Greater Manchester Stop the War Coalition, said racism - and especially Islamaphobia - was a growing threat which needed to be combated relentlessly.

“Multiculturalism, with black and white united,is necessary to defend our communities. It offers hope to the many people here and elsewhere who want a different world.”

ENDS

For more information, please contact:
Kath Grant 07758386208
Rhetta Moran 07776264646