This past Saturday we supported a demonstration against anti-Asian racism organised by Stop Asian Hate UK with the help of LAFA North and support on the day by LAFA West. With reclaim pride followed by stop Asian Hate’s speakers, it was a strong demonstration of intersectionality. The testimonies from the speakers about the many instances of racist abuse that they had suffered since the start of the pandemic were very moving.
Afterward the “Freedom Rally” came past in thousands and Stop Asian Hate held the space as we saw countless people go past shouting abuse at us. We saw many far right elements including Rock Against Communism, the front group of extreme Neo-Nazis “Blood and Honour”.
Although the day was a success and Stop Asian Hate held a great demonstration, we can’t help but say the Freedom Demonstrations should be seen as a serious danger. We had several confrontations with the far right on the demonstration. The fact that such elements are present and tolerated at these rallies and their composition (predominantly white, middle class and already susceptible to conspiratorial thinking) makes them a perfect breeding ground for the far-right.
It is also worth saying, that Stand Up to Racism had a presence at the demonstration, as the far right arrived and confrontations began, SUTR left so quickly they left their newspapers behind. They left as soon as there was anti-fascism to be done. It seems they are only interested in handing out placards and defending abusers. No surprises there.
In any case, it’s clear that the COVID pandemic has caused the spread of another virus: that of racism and xenophobia. And if we do nothing, it may well mutate into full-on fascism. To stop that from happening, we encourage you to support groups like Stop Asian Hate, who are fighting racism by organising their own communities against it. And of course, you can also get in contact with us if you want to work with us.