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Socialists Protest Racism despite Police Preventing March

“Nazis Not Welcome In Cardiff” say protesters against racist hate-crimes.

Richard Edwards gives anti-racism speech at Cardiff University Student Union

Event organiser Richard Edwards gives speech at anti-racism protest.

Approximately 40 people gathered at Cardiff University on Saturday afternoon to protest racism and hate speech, after police denied organisers permission to march.

Protesters rallied on the steps of the Student Union in response to posters plastered around the Cathays area in October, depicting swastikas and the bombing of mosques.

One of the event organisers, Kevin Pourmostofi from Socialist Students, said these posters were “clearly meant to intimidate and frighten the amazing multi-cultural community that makes Cardiff so great and vibrant.”

The event was planned as a march, but organisers say police would only allow a stationary protest. A representative of the South Cardiff Socialist Party, Richard Edwards, said, “They told us explicitly not to march. They don’t like organisations that can gather together groups of people. They don’t like protests.”

There has been a 29% increase in reported hate crimes across the United Kingdom since 2016, according to the Home Office. The protesters said that they are responding to what they see as a rise in far-right racist and anti-Islamic rhetoric in media and politics.

Banner says 'STAND UP TO RACISM AND FASCISM'

Protesters carried banners with slogans such as “Don’t Let Racists Divide Us” and “Refugees Welcome”.

“The far-right has effectively been seen off many times from the streets of Britain,” said Kristina Hedges from the organisation Stand Up to Racism, “but from France to Poland to Greece, we’ve seen the same groups of people swap their jackets for suits, and make alarming inroads in elections.”

References were made to the 60 000 people who marched in Warsaw, Poland on November 11th under banners reading “Clean Blood” and “Europe will be white or uninhabited“.

“In times like these, it’s important that we have these kinds of communities,” said Kabira Suleman, Black and Ethnic Minorities (BEM) officer at Cardiff University. “So I think the march is not only imperative for these people, but also needed so that people can access that community.”

Protesters sell newspapers and take petition signatures.

A both where individuals could sign a petition against austerity, donate, or buy pins and copies of The Socialist newspaper.

Cardiff University currently offers services such as Student Voice for those who have experienced racial or religious discrimination, and new staff training and reporting tools are currently being developed. Suleman said, “There are channels being put in place to make the university a safer place to be a BEM student. These are things which are always being continuously improved.”

Pourmostofi said that the Saturday protest showed that “there is clearly an appetite for anti-racist and socialist ideas in the community,” and expressed hope that it could become a regular event.