A coach was provided from Stoke (in part financed by North Staffs TUC) that carried a disappointing seven people. Yes, I know it is holiday time, but given the electoral strength of the BNP in Stoke, I feel that it was a poor turnout. Both NSTUC and North Staffs Campaign Again Racism and Fascism need to pull the stops out to maximise support for future protests.
Two rallies had actually been planned, one by Notts Stop The BNP commencing at 9.30 and another by UAF starting at 11.00! Now I am not going to delve into the politics of this (much has already been written elsewhere). I had turned up to rally against the BNP and supported both events, as did most people there. In reality, the second rally merged into the first.
We later marched about half a mile through the village to the entrance to the farmland where the BNP were holding their ‘festival’. The police stopped us there but did allow thirty protesters to walk the further three-quarters of a mile to a designated ‘protest spot’. We congregated for about an hour before marching back. At one stage, we had the silly situation of different speakers addressing the front and back of the march, neither of which I could hear! We then walked back to the village for another rally.
Was it a success? I think so. I estimated there were about 400/450 people on the march, 500 top whack - not bad. Could have been higher but a big improvement on last year when there was apparently a lone protester! There were about ten unions that were visibly present, plus some Trades Councils, the Asian Workers Association, Racial Equalities Council, and assorted left groupings- a wide mix. I have to say that the locals did not appear to be very supportive. They generally looked bemused or rather hostile. Only one motorist sounded his horn in support. We made our presence felt. Let’s hope it did some good.