The racist English Defence League (EDL) are returning to Colchester on May 22nd, once again using Lee Rigby’s tragic death to fuel their racist campaign, despite his family specifically asking for his death not to be exploited by such groups.
We’re working with and supporting local groups to organise a counter-demo, which the details of will be announced soon. The Facebook event is here.
This is not the first time the EDL have set upon Colchester, in previous years the EDL “showed their respect” by Sieg-Heiling at a War Memorial. On their last visit, the EDL bused racists in from all over the country, only to be heckled and jeered by locals as the police marched them into the Castle Park and locked the gates.
The EDL visit Colchester once or twice a year, bringing hate and the desire to divide. In the interim, the people of Colchester have come together to build a thriving pro-refugee, anti-racist movement. Here are some highlights:
- In November 2015, over 300 people marched through the streets of Colchester to welcome refugees.
- Colchester Refugee Action, Supporting Sisters + other groups have travelled to Calais multiple times to bring vital supplies to those in need. On their first trip donations delivered included 300 sleeping bags, 150 tents, 150 food bags, 400 wash bags, 200 coats and 200 pairs of waterproof shoes.
- In December 2015 refugee families displaced by the Syrian civil war arrived in Colchester to start a new life.
- In January 2016, thanks to pressure from locals, Colchester Borough Council passed a motion to receive as many refugee families as need be.
- In March 2016 over 200 people attended a Pledge Assembly. Guests were encouraged to sign a pledge sheet with ideas such as driving a refugee to an appointment and teaching English lessons.
- On average, one fundraising event has took place every two weeks, raising thousands for the newly arrived families, anti-racist and migrant solidarity groups
That’s just a few highlights of what has been happening. Colchester has a proud history of supporting refugees and has strongly rejected the divisive politics of the EDL, and will once again. Join us and other groups on Sunday 22nd May.
If you would like to get involved with refugee support in Colchester, these groups have been doing great solidarity work: