Today, Sunday 9th of December, protesters in London mobilised in opposition to a growing and increasingly vocal fascist movement in the UK, something mirrored across Europe and the USA.
As the country becomes increasingly polarised in the run up to a week of politics possibly as important for its future as any since the start of World War II, a week in which parliament decides if Theresa May’s Brexit deal is acceptable or not, the worst elements of fascism such as racism, xenophobia, islamophobia and phobias of all kinds are growing and the mainstream media, instead of silencing such violence, are giving space to these sources of bigotry and hatred.
The focus of today’s anti-fascism march is a highly unsavoury character who goes by the name Tommy Robinson, but whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon. Robinson was recently released from prison while a conviction for contempt-of-court for interfering in a trial goes to the court of appeal. Robinson has been filmed calling British Muslims “enemy combatants who want to kill you, maim you and destroy you”, among other things. His sources of funding include Steve Bannon and other far-right nationalist promoters and he portrays himself as a saviour of the country and for his efforts he has recently become an advisor to the anti-EU UK Independence Party.
According to the event organisers, “It is more urgent than ever that we fight against Fortress Britain: against the hostile environment, immigration raids, detention centres and deportations. We need to fight together for all people to be able to live, migrate and work where we choose and for better wages, services and lives.
“Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, is part of a newly energised and well-funded network of hate bankrolled by friends of Steve Bannon. Their far right politics is bleeding into the Tory party through Boris Johnson and other UKIP fellow travellers.
“Life is hard for millions of us. Thanks to universal credit and benefit sanctions millions of families now rely on foodbanks. Many of us can’t afford a decent place to live. Winter is around the corner and thousands of elderly people will die because of the cost of heating. Our NHS is being deliberately ground down ready to be sold off.
“We can’t let the far right provide racist solutions to the crisis we are in. We need build a future in which access to decent health, education and housing is a reality and not a dream. This begins with standing together against the racism and sexism of the far right.”
The march, with an expected participation of over 5000 people, started near the city’s busy Oxford Street and moved slowly towards Whitehall, the heart of UK government. Over 30 organisations took part in promoting the event.
Here are a selection of photos taken on the day.