Liam Macuaid has a short but inspiring report of last night's huge anti-racist meeting in east London, which followed the recent formation of United East End.
Here's his account:
'Depending who you talk to it was 800, 900 or 1000. The London Muslim Centre (LMC) in Whitechapel tonight hosted a bloody big meeting to show that very very few people in Tower Hamlets want the English Defence League to come anywhere near the place.
I lost count after the 23rd speaker. All points of view from the Salvation Army to Unite, the NUT and the Baha’is were there. An overwhelmingly Muslim audience applauded Labour councillors, trade unionists, Catholic priests and Respect members who stood opposed to race hatred, anti-Semitism, homophobia and fascism.
You’d need to be seriously thick to not work out that pulling that number of people together, with the express intention of persuading them to attend a demonstration on June 20th celebrating the EDL’s decision that not going to Tower Hamlets is the better part of valour, is quite an achievement.
If we gauge these things by the posters on the walls of the LMC and the screen projections the organisational triumph belongs to United East End. It even managed to convince the leader of the council and several councillors that it was worthwhile associating their name with the anti-racist event.
Even though the EDL has been faced down the locals are going to have a concert, rally and maybe even a march to show that the racists are not welcome. It was an inspiring event which showed that locally rooted anti-fascist campaigns can scare the buggers off, bring people together and hold the potential to help organise the upcoming defensive struggles.'
The meeting was on the back of a brief but effective campaign, which had already led to the EDL cancelling its march.