White supremacists march in Newcastle

Newcastle UnitesBy

Newcastle once again became the centre of racist campaigning on March 21st, the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 100 white supremacists took part in a White Man March by the Quayside and were opposed by a group of 70 anti-racists and anarchists. The event ended with nine of the white supremacists arrested.

The White Man March followed a month after a march by the UK arm of German anti-Islam, anti-immigrant group Pegida, also in Newcastle. Unlike the Pegida rally, which was nominally anti-Islamist, the White Man March was explicitly racist. The hundred marchers congregated by Tyne, separated from the anti-racist rally by 20 meters and dozen of police. Speakers railed against the ‘mongrelisation’ of the white race and claimed that the ‘white race’ was the most creative and intelligent species in the universe.

A member of the White Man MarchChants of ‘sieg heil’ and ‘Hitler was right’, alongside statements about the return of National Socialism indicated a strong neo-Nazi presence at the March. Also represented at the White Man March was the British branch of the National Revival of Poland, a Polish political party, who have used a campaign poster with the slogan ‘Fascism? We are worse!’

Toward the end of the demonstration, nine of the white supremacists were arrested for flag burning (disruption of the peace) and incitement of racial hatred. This ran counter to the general atmosphere of the March, which was largely peaceful. A journalist was cautioned for swearing at a group of white supremacists.

On the same day, Newcastle Unites, a group attempting to improve race relations in Newcastle, celebrated the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by Grey’s Monument in the centre of Newcastle. Around 100 people came to listen to a series of speeches and musical performances organised in an effort to promote multicultural sentiment.

Newcastle Unites gained national attention for organising a rally against the Newcastle Pegida rally in February. The group seeks to positively engage communities through promoting dialogue and organising inclusive events including a music festival, which will be held in May in Newcastle. Speakers at Grey’s Monument reflected the organisation’s aims, bringing messages of racial and religious cohesion and unity.

Across the day, the most striking feature was the low turnout at the events. To put the numbers into context, the Newcastle Pegida rally attracted 300 demonstrators, while the anti-Pegida rally attracted 3000 protestors. The largest German Pegida rally attracted 25,000. The white supremacist sentiment is held by a tiny section of British society. At the same time, the low turnout at the Newcastle Unites event signalled a highly variable desire to actively promote a multicultural society.

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