Around 300 people took part in the Tyne and Wear May Day March and Rally in Newcastle on Saturday.
The event coincided with the 125th anniversary of the very first workers’ international May Day celebrations.
Back in 1890, the international demand was for an eight-hour maximum to the working day. This call united workers in the United States, Britain, France, Belgium, Germany, Austria and many other countries.
One of the organisers of the Tyneside event, Martin Levy, said:
“There’s a lot of people on zero hours contracts today who would love to get the chance to work eight hours.”
“The march is as relevant today as it was 125 years ago. It’s very important as a statement of the principles of the Trade Union and Labour movement – solidarity, fighting inequality and fighting for social justice.
“These issues don’t just go away.”
Speakers at the event included Christine Payne, general secretary of actors’ union Equity; Ian Mearns, Labour’s candidate for the Gateshead constituency at the forthcoming general election and Andrew Murray, chief of staff of Unite the Union and deputy president of the Stop the War Coalition.
Professor Manuel Hassassian, Palestinian Ambassador to the United Kingdom, had been due to speak but had to cancel at the last minute.
His place on the platform was taken by Ann Schofield of the Tyneside Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.
Those taking part assembled at Princess Square then walked along Northumberland Street and then past St Thomas’s Church towards Exhibition Park, where the rally was held.
Music on the march was provided by the Backworth Colliery Band, while local musicians DrumDin (OK) and The Backyard Rhythm Orchestra performed at the rally.
Mr Levy added:
“This 125th anniversary of the very first workers’ May Day was an opportunity to make clear our opposition to austerity and privatisation, and to express solidarity with all those struggling for a better world, particularly the people of Palestine.”
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 02 May 2015
A racist thug has been fined for damaging a mosque after a far-right rally in Sunderland.
Connor McIntosh launched the attack on the Jami Masjid mosque in Chester Road, Sunderland, drunkenly kicking a drainpipe.
The 19-year-old had been at a demo over proposals for a new mosque in Millfield on March 30.
> What I dont get is why they were at the Jami Masjid mosque, and not the site of the proposed new mosque, some distance away ?
Also, I’m told that the new mosque is for a seperate strand of Islam than that followed at Jami Masjid – rather like protesting about a new Baptist chapel outside a Roman Catholic church.
Still, that’s the EDL for you – if you thought too deeply (or at all…) about such matters, they’d probably deny you membership on the grounds of being dangerously intellectual. EDL = Easily Distracted Loons.
He was arrested after being captured on CCTV lashing out at the building.
Sunderland magistrates were told how he ranted about Islam and bragged about being a member of the EDL during his interview with police.
He pleaded guilty to causing racially-aggravated criminal damage.
Penny Bottomley, prosecuting, said McIntosh, an unemployed scrapman, was so drunk at first that he did not know why he had been arrested.
She said: “The defendant, when he was interviewed, was asked why he had been detained.
“He thought it was because he was too drunk, but then said there were too many mosques and they (Muslims) were grooming our kids.
“He said he had a child on the way and he did not want his child getting involved in all of that.
“Then he said the police should stop them burning our poppies.
“He confirmed he was a member of the EDL, and he was the male on the CCTV, and had ripped the pipe off the building himself.”
Jason Smith, defending, said father-to-be McIntosh, of Heathgate, Houghton-le-Spring, had never been in trouble before.
He said: “Usually, this is a matter that should have been dealt with by way of a caution.
“I accept the reason why it was not is because of the nature of the allegation, and because of his involvement with the EDL.”
Mr Smith told magistrates that the protest McIntosh had been to was organised with the “understanding” of the police and that McIntosh had the right to air his views.
He added: “Unfortunately, he had a bit too much to drink, and at the end of the march he caused damage to the drainpipe, then he walked away.
“He did not cause any more damage and he did not shout and swear or abuse anyone.”
McIntosh was fined £110 and ordered to pay £100 compensation to the mosque, along with £85 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Source – Shields Gazette 19 April 2014