Hundreds unite against Swansea ‘white pride’ protest

Protesters at the 'white pride' march promoted by the South Wales National Front

Protesters at the ‘white pride’ march promoted by the South Wales National Front

 A showdown between National Front members and anti-fascist protesters brought hundreds of people to a Welsh city centre, amid a heavy police presence.

Saturday’s so-called “White Pride March”, which was promoted on a South Wales National Front website, was condemned by campaigners, MPs and trade unionists who themselves gathered in a major counter demonstration, drawing more than 400 people, outside Swansea’s Waterfront Museum.

After the demo, they pledged to keep Wales as a “no-go area” for fascists.

When the 50 or so ‘white pride’ protesters arrived at the site via police convoy at approximately 1.30pm, chants were exchanged between both groups who were separated by barriers.

The event passed off without violence following a meticulously planned police operation.

The National Front members stayed for an hour before being driven away on buses.

South Wales Police superintendent Phil Davies said: “The policing of the ‘white pride’ march was very successful, with no arrests and no reported incidents of public order.”

Among those supporting the anti-fascist protest was Neath MP Peter Hain.

Mr Hain, who is president of the campaign group Unite against Fascism, said: “It’s very important whether it’s Swansea or any other community, town or city in Wales, that we say these are no-go areas for racists, for fascists and for Nazis.

“Having a demonstration like this makes a very important statement, directed at the Welsh Defence League or any group that share that ideology, that they should not be allowed to swagger around and spread their poison and hate.

“Whether it is attacking Muslims, black people, Jewish people, their poisonous policies scapegoat individuals for the problems of lack of jobs, the banking crisis, the global economy, which have nothing to do with your skin and religion.”

The 'white pride' march sparked a counter-demonstration from anti-fascist protesters

Assembly member Bethan Jenkins was also in attendance.

The Plaid Cymru member said: “I don’t believe that there is any place for these kind of demonstrations in the 21st century.

“We need to move on, we need to promote equality but we have organisations like the National Front who are blatantly advocating racism in our society then we have to stand up to that.

“I don’t think it’s good enough for us to say ‘we should ignore them and not pay them any notice, we shouldn’t be allowing them the oxygen for publicity’.

“So we have to stand up against such activities in this day and age.”

The National Front rally coincided with a Blood and Honour gig due to be held in Swansea on Saturday night.

Alex Graves, Socialist Party organiser for Swansea and south west Wales, said: “We don’t want the National Front or any other racist or fascist scum in Swansea.

“They divide ordinary people, the working class, and there’s no place for them in Swansea or anywhere else in Wales.”

Andrew Davies, from Swansea Bay LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans) Unity, said: “There is no room in Swansea for hate, these people are not welcome.

“Diversity is one of the greatest things that Swansea has got and between the different minority groups we have here and so to have a group come along and preach as much hate as they are preaching, they are simply not welcome here.”

Gareth Jones, a regional coordinating officer for Unite in Swansea said: “The trade union movement has always been at the forefront of the fight against the fascists.

“The extreme right wing will seek to represent themselves as the party for anti-cuts when in fact it is the trade union movement which is leading the fight against the cuts.

“The only policy these people have is one of hate and misinformation.”

Tahar Idris, director of the Swansea Bay Racial Equality Council, said: “The turnout here today sends out a clear message that people trying to spread hate and division are not welcome in the city.”

From Wales Online . Report by Sion Morgan 09.03.13

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