I spoke to lots of people who took to the streets of Rochester to oppose the fascists of Britain First. What was remarkable was the large variety of local people who turned up to humiliate BF again.
There were different reasons for attending, but everyone seemed to recognise the importance of standing up to racism and fascism in Medway.
Mental health worker Maureen Cleator said she has strong family links in the armed forces. She was angry that Britain First have used their own logo to take money away from charities which actually raise money to support servicemen and women.
She said: “Britain First and others say they are doing this for our armed services. But they are hypocrites. My son was injured in Afghanistan and my brother served in Iraq. Britain First do not speak for me or my family.”
Jamie Couchman said: “I feel anti- Britain First. I think we’re better as a diverse society. I think they [BF] are bringing a message of almost white supremacy.”
Kirsten Dwight, an immigrant to Britain from Alaska, said: “I haven’t been on a demonstration for 20 years. I’m an immigrant myself, though most people won’t think of me as such.
“I don’t get much hassle. It goes to show that when they say the debate about immigration is not about race, it is.”
Jamil Mughal from Rainham carried his placard opposite the gathering of Britain First supporters. He said that the group were trying to whip up hatred over the issue of the construction of a new Mosque.
He said: “Last time Britain First turned up in Rochester they went to our Mosque in Canterbury Street. They tried to go in at a quiet time and were quite thuggish and barged their way in.
“The new Mosque will be open to the community, rather than distancing ourselves. We will have a new gym and community hall for hire.”
In the aftermath of their defeat the fascists have been blaming everyone for opposing them. Amusingly they criticised the police, they blamed the left, the right, and just about everyone.
It shows that when everyone joins together, fascism fails. Rochester has written its own small but nonetheless important chapter in the history of antifascist resistance in Britain.
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