Friday 31 May 2013

Thanks for the solidarity - Lewisham stands united

Lewisham NUT would like  to thank the many trade unionists, community campaigners, residents and youth, from across all sections of our community, that have made clear that they were going to respond in such large numbers to the call for a Unity Rally against the BNP outside the Lewisham Islamic Centre (LIC) on Saturday.

We are in no doubt that the size of the likely turnout in Lewisham, as well as neighbouring Woolwich, helped to persuade the Metropolitan Police to impose conditions under the Public Order Act instructing the BNP to move their march and rally to Whitehall.

In these circumstances, and although the NUT and the LIC had discussed the possibility of continuing with the rally to celebrate the unity shown, once again, by the people of Lewisham against those who would try to divide us, the Islamic Centre has decided that “after careful consideration, we have decided that the most responsible course of action to now take is to cancel the rally” on Saturday.

The NUT obviously respects this decision to cancel the rally and is asking that you pass on this information, and our thanks, to others who may have intended to gather in Lewisham on Saturday to show your opposition to the BNP’s provocations and to stand in solidarity to the Islamic Centre.

As the Lewisham Islamic Centre has stated: It gives us great satisfaction  to  hear that one of the most significant reasons that the  BNP cancelled their march was  because of the community concerns expressed by the communities of both Boroughs  … we believe that the coming together of so many different faiths, different races  and so many different sections of society to  unite with one voice declaring “you pick on one of us, then you pick on all of us” …  is indeed the real manifest victory.  The achievement is therefore two fold – firstly, the BNP march through our great Borough has been cancelled and secondly, the  action of the  BNP has reaffirmed the unity of the community within our Borough ,which has always been strong”

Lewisham NUT understands that there is likely to be a counter-protest against the BNP/EDL march in Central London that those that were intending to rally in Lewisham may wish to attend. However, Lewisham NUT and other Lewisham trade unionists will also be monitoring events locally tomorrow in case of any attempts to threaten the Islamic Centre in spite of the police ban.

We hope that all those that have come together to oppose the BNP’s attempts to build support after the horrific murder of Lee Rigby will maintain the links that we have built, strengthen our community ties, and work together to campaign for schools, homes and jobs for all, not racism.

Martin Powell-Davies, Secretary, Lewisham NUT                         Friday 31 May 2013

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