South Belfast Anti-Racist Rally Attacked

Davy Carlin from the WSM, and formerly of the Anti-Racism Network, provides a first-hand account of the attack on the protest last night in Belfast responding to a spate of attacks on the homes of immigrants living in the area

 Given the attempted propaganda {by some} against last nights rally I give but a brief account of my experience of the anti racism rally.

Well over 100 people attended the rally at very short notice.

I had arrived about 5 minutes before the rally started, and in doing so I had walked past a group of youths about 10 then in total, aged between 17-19 years old – and a few older ones hanging around them. As I walked past them {I did not know that they where there at the time as outside a bar on a side street} a comment was made – which I ignored.

I proceeded down to the rally.

Then a short time later the youths – one giving a Nazi salute started to make their way towards the rally, {the rally made up mostly of local residents and included many young people and those from the minority ethnic community}. As they approached several anti fascist activists stood – in front and in defence – of the rally. They came up almost face to face and a comment was made to me and others, which we ignored.

They then made their way up an entry where they again gave Nazi signs and hurled other abuse. Chants from the rally then went up ‘Nazis of our streets!

They seemed to have disappeared, but a short time later bottles and bricks rained down on the rally narrowly missing people there- as some of them again attempted to make their way towards the rally. It was then that Anti Fascist Activists {and others attending the rally} – in defence of the rally – chased after them into the surrounded streets and alleyways..

After 10 minutes or so – and all back at the rally – the rally continued.

It was then that the police arrived in any numbers

Further decisions where taken to provide support and defence for those attacked – and for oneself a number of people that I had previously worked with from the ‘Village {and their – Wider Networks} came to speak to me at one particular house. With them, they agreed that they would seek to get some practical help for the residents, such as {in the interim} getting the windows which where broken on the house we where at, boarded up {as it was freezing inside for the residents – Also, {after a long discussion} other practical support was promised – and awaited.

The residents of the area should be applauded and supported for the rally they organised.

On a wider note – the move from racism to fascism I had unfortunately predicted way back. Indeed this is the first time such a rally has seen attacks by fascists – and such Anti Fascist – Fascist confrontation, on the streets of Belfast in I don’t know how long. Yet given in a week where we have seen the BNP setting up ‘call centres’ in and around Belfast and the overt attacks on the minority ethnic communities this is a worrying development.

Given the age of the fascists {although older ones about – from knowledge} it shows a wider alienation, and those drawn into such Fascist ideology – and this in not confined to these particular areas as there are small individuals and pockets of it growing over Belfast and around the North.

As far right organisations also seek to exploit such – support needs to be provided to the minority ethic community here, and solidarity forthcoming when called for.

There is a difference, I believe, in tackling racism, and that of taking on fascism – and indeed organised fascism if it gets that far.

The lessons for Anti Fascists are clear from history, the fascists need to be ‘Nipped in the bud’ from the very onset – they cannot build, they cannot march –

Indeed United –

-They shall not Amass –

As always,

In Solidarity



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