Support the Dale Farm Traveller community: stop the evictions
Up to 300 residents at Dale Farm, Essex, are facing forced removal from land they own in what threatens to be the largest ever eviction of Travellers in the UK.
Children - Those faced with eviction and homelessness include up to 150 children and vulnerable adults living on the country's largest Traveller site. Travellers have been living at Dale Farm since the 1970s. Basildon Council has issued a 28 day notice of eviction to the families on 51 plots of land at Dale Farm because they do not have planning permission - although the residents own the land and families living on another 45 plots with planning permission will remain.
Racism - The threatened Dale Farm evictions come amid a deeply worrying rise in racism against Traveller and Roma communities across Europe. Last year the French government forcibly broke up Roma camps and deported hundreds of families. Such actions by mainstream politicians and government authorities are encouraging a climate of scapegoating and racism against Traveller and Roma communities, who are already the target of fascist organisations in many parts of Europe. The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the UK Children's Commissioner and the All Party Parliamentary Party for Gypsy Roma Travellers have all expressed serious concerns over the threatened mass eviction at Dale Farm.
Sign petition - UAF is urging supporters to sign the petition to stop the Dale Farm evictions and to say no to scapegoating and racism against the Traveller community. The petition has been set up by the Irish Travellers Movement in Britain. See the ITMB website for more information about Dale Farm.
Blackburn, Sat 2 April: celebrate diversity, no to the racist EDL
Antiracists in Blackburn are organising an event to show the racist English Defence League is not welcome in their town on Saturday 2 April. The racist EDL - which has links to the British National Party and other fascist groups - wants to bring its poisonous message to the Lancashire town on that day. It particularly targets Muslims and its supporters have attacked Asian and black people, homes, shops and places of worship including mosques and a Hindu temple.
The antiracist event, called by Blackburn & Darwen United Against Racism and supported by UAF, Blackburn Trades Council, Blackburn College Students Union and the Youth On A Mission organisation, will be a celebration of multicultural Blackburn, with bands, music and entertainment.
The organisers want to show the racist EDL is not welcome in Blackburn. They say: "There are many good people across East Lancashire who spend their time working for good community relations, respect for one another's beliefs, tolerance and human dignity. All of this work can be undermined in a single day if the EDL is allowed to protest unopposed in the town."
We are calling on all decent-minded people, of all creeds and colours, to come together on 2 April to demonstrate our defence of mutual respect and decency - and to join our celebration of multicultural Blackburn.
LGBT and Muslim activists unite to stop EDL-linked "pride"
LGBT and Muslim activists have stood united to stop attempts to divide our communities and forced the cancellation of a "pride" event linked to supporters of the racist English Defence League in London's East End. The "East End Gay Pride" event was cancelled after it was revealed that key organiser Raymond Berry was a founder member of the EDL - and local LGBT groups organised against the event, which was backed by a string of EDL supporters on its Facebook page.
LGBT groups, including Hackney Pride organisers Out East, the local Rainbow Hamlets coalition and the Muslim LGBT groups Imaan and the Safra Project, campaigned against the event. UAF proudly produced and distributed posters opposing the event with the message "Don't let the EDL divide us - no to homophobia, no to Islamophobia".
"East End Gay Pride" claimed its event was called in opposition to homphobia after anti-gay stickers apparently designed to attract the attention of Muslims, and likely to have been put up by a very small number of people, appeared in the area. But local activists were determined that the long history of LGBT pride and anti-homphobia campaigning would not be hijacked by the EDL or used to support an anti-Muslim racist agenda. They stressed the importance of unity to oppose both homophobia and Islamophobia across the whole community. Prominent figures and organisations in the Tower Hamlets Muslim community, including Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman and the East London Mosque, joined LGBT groups to speak out forcefully against homophobia when the stickers appeared.
As pressure from LGBT, Muslim and antifascist activists built up, it was revealed that "East End Gay Pride" organiser Berry had admitted to the RMT rail union that he was one of the founding members of the EDL - a group of racist thugs with links to fascist organisations. Berry claimed that after infighting he had left the EDL, but was still a member of similar anti-Muslim racist organisations. Last year, a march of 5,000 people celebrated on the streets of Tower Hamlets, after the EDL was forced to scrap its plans to march through the area. Now LGBT and Muslim activists have shown that they will not let the racists divide them and that the EDL and its allies will not be allowed to use any pretext to gain a toehold in the area.