- Created: Wednesday, 09 December 2015 14:49
- Written by FRFI
On Tuesday 1 December, supporters of Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! North East joined the rally called by Newcastle Stop the War Coalition against Britain bombing Syria. In a great show of strength hundreds of people joined the rally in the city centre of Newcastle. There was a lot of anger and a lot of energy for taking further action.
After only 45 minutes, Tony Dowling, leading member of Stop the War attempted to halt the protest. Given the energy of the protesters, FRFI supporters insisted it should continue. A clear division emerged as Dowling not only wanted to limit the duration of the protest, but also decided he should defend Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to allow Labour MPs a free vote on airstrikes. We argued that Corbyn had effectively placed Labour unity before the need to oppose imperialist war. We were met initially with hostility from staunch Labour supporters but quickly were able to keep the protest going with the help of all of the people who did not want to call it a day, and who could see through the deceit of Labour Party apologists. We set up an open mic for everyone, and many of the protesters used it.
In response, the police intervened to disperse the protest. They picked on one FRFI supporter and asked for her details. As she had committed no crime she refused to say anything. Police officers tried to intimidate her and pushed her up against a shop window. The crowd saw this and came to her defence and forced the police to back down and let her go. Footage of this can be seen below. After this, demonstrators marched up Northumberland Street, the busiest shopping street in Newcastle, towards the Civic Centre. Many people saw the march and joined in to swell the numbers.
At this moment, it seems like there may be real potential to rebuild a serious anti-war movement in Britain. The biggest threat to that movement is the illusion that the Labour Party will bring an end to British warmongering. It won't - the only realistic option is to get onto the streets and organise a movement that can stop Britain's war drive through mass direct action.
Join us on Saturday 5 December as we protest at Barclays Bank – the biggest global investor in the arms trade, at the top of Grainger Street (near the Monument) Newcastle NE1 5AF, at 2:30pm.
End all British wars! Stop banks profiting from war! Britain out of Syria!