Newcastle stood united against hate as thousands of anti-Pegida protestors marched through the streets of the city this morning.
Anti-fascists, trade unions, religious and community groups, and politicians all turned out to oppose the German “anti-Islamisation” group’s first visit to Britian.
“I wish this wasn’t necessary,” said Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah, one of the speakers on the march.
“What we’d like is for Pegida to have Newcastle Unites: Thousands turn out for counter-march against Pegida protest not picked our great city to march in.
“But to see people of all cultures and backgrounds, from across the political spectrum and including many football fans, turn out really shows Newcastle is united against these outsiders.”
Charlie Trotter, 21, a waiter from Morpeth in Northumberland, was among a group carrying a Morpeth 4 Peace banner.
“I came down to help make it known that the people of the North Eats are comfortable with immigration and people of different backgrounds and to show that we need to stand up to the far right,” said Charlie.
Gateshead MP Ian Mearns said the number of people at the Newcastle Unites march, which travelled from the gates of the city’s Chinatown, down Gallowgate, and down Newgate Street, was “fantastic.”
“It really shows the solidarity among the people of Newcastle and the North East, and from the perspective that the Pegida protest only had numbers in the low hundreds, and the counter protest had thousands it’s very encouraging,” he said.
“But what I can’t understand is among the Pegida rally there will have been British Nationalists demonstrating alongside proud Europeans – it doesn’t make sense.”
Among the speakers who took to the Newcastle Unites stage was German MEP Arne Lietz, who travelled from Gelsenkirchen.
“For me it is very important to show solidarity and that we are together as Europeans against hate,” he said.
“This Pegida protest will have attracted other groups or individuals who will call themselves Pegida, but many of whom are right wing and nationalist, and who’s hate speak we don’t want to see in the European Union.
“I come from East Germany when I grew up we were singled out for being Christians under the Communist regime. I now want to ensure that we live in a fair Europe with the liberties denied to my own parents.”
The Newcastle Unites march on Newgate street and the Pegida protest on the Bigg Market were kept around 100 yards apart by police cordons and scores of uniformed officers enforcing a “sterile zone.”
It is not yet known if any arrests were made at either protest
> I had hoped to attend myself ( the Newcastle Unites rally, in case you were wondering !) but the effects of bronchitis made worse by a heavy cold dictated otherwise.
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 28 Feb 2015
> Pegida supporters (for today, anyway – back to EDL tomorrow). As one comment for this video put it: “Never seen so many inbreed sister fuckers in one place, look like scum sound like scum tramps get a life..”