Some 200 anti-fascists gathered outside Tottenham town hall in north London on Monday evening following antisemitic attacks by Polish fascist group Zjednoczeni Emigranci on Saturday.
The crowd was a healthy mix of local residents plus the organised left including Unite Against Fascism and Anti Fascist Network, This turnout at 24 hours’ notice is positive sign of how organised local anti-fascist, anti-racist and community groups are.
I spoke to some of the residents who’d come to the rally, many of whom were angry at how a violent group of fascists could attack a community event so boldly. Simon Thompson is a university student who lives in Tottenham. He said he outraged at an attack on “our multicultural community”.
The main messages from the rally were unity and defiance. Chants of “when fascists attack, we fight back” harmonised with calls for people of all backgrounds in the community to unite against fascists of all backgrounds.
The mainstream press is likely to present this as a “Polish problem” rather than one of fascism and racism. The importance of countering this narrative was underscored at the rally by the presence of Polish anti-fascist group Dywizjon 161. Several speakers noted the attack took place in a broader context of austerity and scapegoating of immigrants.
After the main rally ended a group of 70 or so anti-fascists marched to Markfield Park, putting anti-fascist stickers over fascist images that had been pasted on lamp posts and bus stops in the local area. There will be another antifascist solidarity demonstration at Markfield Park (where the attack took place) at 3pm on Saturday 28 June.