Martin Francis GP candidate for Brent North addressing the demo. (Martin's account of the denmo is given below).
L to R (physically at least!)Shahrar Ali: GP candidate for Brent Central, Sean Thompson: Camden GP and Martin Francis.
The GPTU banner
Statement by P.Murry issued prior to demo.
As Secretary of the Green Party Trade Union Group and as a Steering Committee member of Green Left I wish to send the support of both of these organisations for the demonstration on 13/12/2009 against the provocative march by neo-fascists and racists.
I hope GPTU and GL members will join this demonstration which is fully in line with Green Party anti-racist policies. I know that all local Green Party parliamentary candidates have already expressed their strong opposition to such neo-fascist and racist actions which are designed to divide the communities and people of North West London against each other.
Martin's blog post on the demo
Stephen Gash of Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE) promised 1,500 people at his anti-Islam demonstration outside the Harrow Mosque.
In fact fewer than 15 turned up initially, even though numbers were augmented by English Defence League supporters, and the rather sad little group, one wearing a blond wig and another a santa hat, were corralled into a cold car park and protected by police. A couple of them made speeches to the windswept car park observed by press photographers who out-numbered them 3 to 1 - all against the background of chants from several hundred anti-Fascist demonstrators, who sometimes broke into open gales of laughter at the sheer absurdity of the lonely little band in the car park. Stephen Gash the 'leader' even managed to be late and nearly miss the event! There is more than a touch of Captain Mainwaring about the man - without the lovability.
Given these numbers it is surely time for the local press stop building up the group and cease publicising their baseless claims and their incitant comments.
Hundreds of anti-Fascist demonstrators made it clear that the Fascists were not welcome in Harrow and the diversity of the demonstrators once again showed that the local community were united in defence of the Harrow mosque.
Ajmal Masroor, a spokesman for the Harrow Mosque, crossed to the corral and spoke to representatives of the SIOE and EDL and invited them into the Mosque to discuss their concerns. His invitation was turned down and Stephen Gash said he wanted to talk to the Home Office instead. A similar invitation has earlier been issued by the group British Muslims for a Secular Democracy without success.
The SIOE has thus shown it is not really interested in dialogue or debate, but just in creating division. In my speech to the Solidarity Vigil, as Green Party parliamentary candidate for Brent North, I pointed out that what the SIOE, EDL and BNP have in common is racism and xenophobia. Despite the SIOE's website claim that racism is 'the lowest form of stupidity' they are quite happy to get 'nod and a wink' support from the EDL. At the September 11th demonstration anti-Mosque demonstrators openly gave Nazi salutes and EDL members were present again today.
The SIOE attempt to 'soften up' an area by organising a provocative demonstration, with EDL help, and any reaction is then depicted as Muslim violence. Having caused division the BNP then move in by leafletting the area, as they did in Harrow after the September 11th demonstration, trying to build electoral support on the back of the dirty deeds of their allies. It is important that we see them as overlapping organisations with a similar agenda, and take with a pinch of salt their internicine squabbles. The SIOE may be absurd and today's demonstration comical, but the racist and Fascist nature of the groups that build on their provocations must be recognised and their activities firmly opposed.
I congratulate Brent and Harrow Unite Against Fascism for organising a highly effective, united and peaceful demonstration
Posted by MARTIN FRANCIS on http://www.wembleymatters.blogspot.com/
Labels: Brent and Harrow UAF, Brent Green Party, EDL, English Defence League, Harrow Mosque, SIOE, Stop Islamisation of Europe, Unite Against Fascism