Anti-fascist activists defy far-right in “glitter” protest

Stuart Rodger

Glitter Bloc seek to drown out far-right counter-protest

ANTI-FASCIST demonstrators in Edinburgh have met a right-wing counter-protest with defiance as they take to the streets to express their solidarity with migrants and minorities.

Around one thousands demonstrators marched through Leith, Edinburgh on Saturday to express support for migrants, refugees, LGBT people and other minorities.  Groups represented included the Scottish Green Party and the Scottish Socialist Party. SNP MP Tommy Shepherd and members of the Liberal Democrats also had a presence.  

Meanwhile, a separate “glitter” bloc sought to protect the main demonstration from a counter-demonstration by the far-right. Activists gathered at the Kirkgate junction, at the bottom of Leith walk, with the anti-fascists on side and the far-right on the other. They two sides were separated by respective police lines.  Angry chants were exchanged from both sides.

One of the protestors at the “glitter bloc” protest was poet Harry Giles, who said: “It's really vital that whenever fascists take to the streets that there is a bigger, noisier and more joyous group of people there to confront them, celebrating everything that fascists hate: diversity, migration, queerness, solidarity, subversion. That way, these groups struggle to grow bigger and struggle to broadcast their hateful messages.”

The group United Colours of Leith called the demonstration in response to stickering by fascist group National Action. The stickers bore the swastika symbol and expressed anti-leftist, homophobic views. The group openly describe themselves as “National Socialist” and say “our ultimate aim of a white Britain can only ever be achieved through state power.”

The group added that the recent EU referendum reaffirmed the need for anti-fascist protests: “Genuine fascist organisations have taken the Brexit vote as a boost, choosing to see it as an anti-migrant vote that lends support to fascist values.”

They chose the “glitter” theme to highlight the struggle of LGBTI+ against fascists: “Fascists hate queers as well as people of colour, and we have to be united in defending ourselves and opposing them. And antifascist action in the past — while really important and successful — has not always been celebratory and has not always had enough fabulousness in it.”

The organizers had encouraged people to attend in their  “most glorious and glittery outfits in brave defiance of fascist hate.”

Picture courtesy of: CommonSpace

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