Unite and the TUC are organising a march and rally in London to mark the United Nation’s Anti-racism Day on Saturday 22 March.
The day of action has been called to coincide with the build-up to the European elections in May and to highlight fears that racism, xenophobia and ‘the scapegoating of minorities’ will dominate media and political discussion across the continent.
A statement from the organisers explains: “With eyes on the European elections in May, parties in most countries of the right, centre and even the traditional left are allowing politics and the media to be dominated by racism and xenophobia.
“In Britain the fascist and far right are seeking gains, but there is an even greater immediate threat.
“That is the increasing tendency of mainstream political parties to tail-end the right-wing, populist UKIP. They are out-vying each other in calls for draconian ‘anti-immigration’ policies and generally promoting a ‘Little Englander’ anti-foreign, anti-European mentality, most recently seen with the hostility and racism whipped up towards the projected arrival of Bulgarian and Romanian migrant workers.”
The UN anti-racism day also commemorates the victims of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre in South Africa, when 69 peaceful demonstrators were killed by police forces, and celebrates the life of Nelson Mandela and his ideal of “a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and equal opportunities”.
The procession will start from Parliament Square in central London at 11am and there will be a rally in Trafalgar Square with Labour MP Diane Abbott, Green Party leader Natalie Bennett, TUC president Mohammed Taj and singer Jerry Dammers among the speakers.
More information from www.standuptoracism.org.uk, including leaflets, posters and contact details for coaches, plus details of ‘mobilising meetings’ around the country.