A far-right group has organised a racist protest at a hotel hosting refugees in Newquay, Cornwall, on Saturday 25 February. It comes after the same group was present during an attack in Knowsley, Liverpool. However, anti-fascists are organising a counter-protest. They want to make it clear, before the corporate media call it a ‘peaceful protest‘, that the far right will want it to be anything but that.
The Knowsley attack on refugees
As the Canary previously reported, the far right organised a fascist attack in Knowsley. The protest was outside a hotel housing refugees. It appeared that nationalist group Patriotic Alternative might have been central to arranging it. However, at the time, some of the media played down the fact that the scenes at Knowsley were intentionally carried out by the far right. For example, BBC News reported that:
Alan Marsden, who lives locally, said he attended the protest after seeing online accounts about the case involving the teenager but left when it became clear it was no longer peaceful.
He said the protest initially involved “mostly women and children” but “kids with masks and balaclavas” later arrived.
Merseyside Police said they had been “facilitating a peaceful protest and counter protest” outside the hotel but “a number of people, who were not part of the original protest group, turned up, and it is clear that they were only interested in causing trouble”.
Anti-fascist campaigners believe that Patriotic Alternative did organise the protest – promoting it online and encouraging locals to attend, before turning up themselves. This is all the more likely given that we now know that the group has organised a similar protest in Newquay this weekend.
Newquay will resist
Cornwall Resists is a network of grassroots anti-fascist groups in the county. It discovered that Patriotic Alternative has organised a protest outside the Beresford Hotel in Newquay on 25 February. As the website Really Free Speech wrote:
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The protest, backed by the Cornish branch of the far-right party Reform UK, will target a hotel housing refugees.
It continued by noting that:
The same neo-Nazi group who were agitating in Knowsley – Patriotic Alternative – traveled to Newquay… to hand out flyers and stir up hate. Based on what’s happened in the past, we expect fascist groups from across the UK to turn up in Newquay on the 25th.
Really Free Speech also documented that a former English Defence League (EDL) member and convicted racist is involved. So, far from being a peaceful protest, what will happen in Newquay looks like a far-right meet-up.
Corporate media: appeasing the far-right?
Cornwall Resists said in a press release that:
There is a long and proud history of standing up to the far-right in the UK. Generation after generation have taken their place on the front line and prevented fascists from gathering or marching. Now it’s our turn and we must rise to the challenge.
The time for words is over. The horrific scenes in Knowsley cannot be allowed to be repeated in Newquay. Condemning the protest in nicely written statements or social media posts is not enough. Making speeches is not enough. When racists gather on our streets to threaten people who’ve fled war and devastation to seek sanctuary in our communities, it’s time to say enough is enough and stand shoulder to shoulder to oppose them.
There comes a time when you have to ask, if not now, when? And this is that time in Cornwall.
The group also noted that the far-right protest is inherently racist – despite what organisers might claim. This is also an important context when the inevitable media coverage follows the event. It is likely the corporate press will frame whatever happens in Newquay as a ‘peaceful protest turned violent by a few bad apples’. This is not what is happening, as we know in advance that fascist groups have organised this.
By framing these violent, racists attacks as peaceful protests gone bad, the corporate media is merely appeasing and promoting the far-right – just like politicians do. Fascism, especially when its dressed-up as concerned ‘activism’, must be opposed head-on wherever its ugly head rears. Now, that will be Newquay on 25 February.
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