After initial plans emerged last month about a march by the English Defence League (EDL) through Cambridge, the city's Unite Against Fascism group (CUAF) spoke out again at a public meeting held last night to oppose the rally organised by the far-right party.
At yesterday's public meeting, organised by CUAF at their headquarters on Norfolk Street, audience members were invited to listen to speeches and share their views on what could be done to disrupt the EDL march, which is expected to take place on February 17th. The senior members of the anti-fascist group CUAF welcomed both old and new members, with over one hundred regular and new attendees present. One participant told TCS that the talk was for "people who haven't got on board yet." She went on to mention that the proposed EDL march is most likely to be centred on Christ's Pieces, in the city centre, as well as in Petersfield, near Mill Road.
Another prominent member of CUAF, who wishes only to be identified as Mitch, explained that the main purpose of the meeting was to decide how to protest effectively against the EDL march, mentioning the main dangers that the extremist faction poses to Britain: "They use the idea of pseudo-patriotism as a front, and many of them are ex-BNP members. Most of them are football hooligans who have been kicked out of every football ground in the country, and we believe that they use as an excuse to cause trouble. They are very racist, and a lot of them think nothing of giving Nazi salutes at their gatherings. They are tied in with a lot of very right-wing groups in Europe."
The public meeting began with a speech by Chairwoman Carol Gerrard and followed by contributions from speakers such as Weyman Bennett, who is Joint Secretary of the national United Against Fascism movement, and Barry Colfer, who was serving as a representative for Richard Howitt, the MEP for Cambridge. Questions were taken from members of the audience throughout the talk, with some linking the current political and economic situation in Greece with Germany in the 1930s and others pointing out the success of recent protests against the EDL as "solidarity contributions" for the upcoming demonstration.
Emily Handley – News Reporter