Massive thank you to all the antifascists who came out onto the streets last night to shut down Italian far right politician Matteo Salvini’s planned dinner reception. Around 60 militant antifascists including several squat crews and over a dozen Italian anti fascists, and around 40 protesters from stand up to racism and the fire brigades union turned out at Piccadilly Circus.
Faced with the prospect of getting chased out of London, Salvini decided not to show up. A press release put out a few hours before our demonstration by Lega Nel Mundo UK Eire (the British branch of Salvini’s party, Lega) claimed Salvini had never planned to show up, despite his presence clearly indicated on the official website selling tickets. The press release heavily implied that militant antifascists were to blame for the difficulties Salvini is having with speaking and the Lega is having with organising among the Italian diaspora in the UK.
Ticket holders weren’t given the location, instead a redirection point, which was changed at the last minute to another redirection point. When antifascists turned up at both redirection points, ticket holders were given a refund instead of an address and a smaller dinner took place just to people directly known to organisers. Meanwhile we held a proactive demonstration, marching by Downing Street and Parliament Square, to Buckingham Palace and Victoria station. The mood of the crowd was lively and militant and chants of “Salvini, Salvini, Vaffanculo!” and “Siamo Tutti Antifascisti” rang out as well as numerous renditions of Bella Ciao. The same small group of british fash who show up at every public LAFA callout started to tail our demo, but quickly scuttled off when recognised and confronted. The demo wound up at the moon pub on Whitehall where we sang rebel songs late into the night.
While our actions were a success in that they meant the dinner was considerably smaller, they made it impossible for the Lega to reach out to new people and gain legitimacy and respectability, and heavily contributed to putting off Salvini, we didn’t manage to shut down the dinner completely. As well as a few Italian fascists, in attendance were several members of London For Britain, who were recently run out of Whitechapel by antifascists, an alt right YouTuber going by the pseudonym “Unwashed”, and open neo-nazi and speakers corner fanatic Ralph Massilamani, a leading member of Mark Collett’s new party, Patriotic Alternative.
Salvini is awaiting trial for kidnapping for refusing to allow 131 migrants to disembark from a coastguard ship. As interior minister he refused to allow search and rescue teams helping migrants to dock in any Italian ports, leading to a UN investigation. He has called for a “mass cleansing” of Italy of foreigners and Roma, which led to fascist mob violence against traveller communities.
While Patriotic Alternative are among the most extreme groups and don’t support this strategy, much of the far right in the UK see Boris as Britain’s Trump and themselves as the far right equivalent of Momentum, pushing Boris further to the right. It’s not unfeasible that the politics of Salvini will come to the UK if the far right is allowed to grow unopposed. The antifascist movement in London is growing and we organise against far right politicians as well as street mobs, fighting fascism with our bodies as well as our ideas.
#AntifascismIsInternational #WeAreAllAntifacists #L161 #Sardines