Hundreds of anti-racism supporters turned up in Erskine at the weekend to decry the way asylum seekers being housed there have been treated by far-right extremist groups seeking to have them removed.
Organised by Stand up to Racism Scotland (SUTR) and the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), the demonstration attracted around 400 people.
The community solidarity event was held at the Muthu Glasgow River Hotel on Sunday afternoon.
As well as local residents who had shown up to offer their support, coaches full demonstrators and trade unionists from Glasgow, Dundee and Edinburgh joined in on the day, chanting “refugees welcome”, “support Erskine anti-racists” and “stop the Nazi Homeland Party”.
Speakers at the event included STUC general secretary Roz Foyer, Erskine residents, representatives from unions including UCU, EIS, NASUWT, FBU, Paisley Trades Council, faith groups such as the Catholic Church and refugee rights campaigners, as well as a statement from human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar.
STUC general secretary Ms Foyer said: “We’re standing in solidarity with refugees and asylum seekers, who are going through a really difficult time at the moment. The approach we take is that an injury to one, is an injury to all.
“We will stand against fascism and those who sow the seeds of hatred in our communities, whether that be here in Erskine, Elgin, or anywhere else in Scotland.
“Solidarity is our superpower, refugees are welcome here.”
The Paisley Daily Express recently told how Patriotic Alternative (PA), a far-right extremist group, had infiltrated the Erskine community in a bid to hijack locals’ concerns over a lack of consultation over the housing of around 170 asylum seekers in the
It emerged last month that the Scottish organisers in PA – who have held their own protests outside the hotel which have taken place more or less weekly since February – left the group and set up their own organisation, named Homeland, which they hope to turn into a political party.
Despite protests each Sunday outside the hotel, this time nobody from PA or Homeland attended – a cause for celebration for SUTR and the STUC.
SUTR say that the absence of people calling for the asylum seekers to be removed from the hotel was a “defeat for the hateful politics of the Homeland Party”.
A spokesperson said: “The British Nazis want to feed off the racist climate created by Home Secretary Suella Braverman to have a breakthrough. But continuous anti-fascist opposition wherever they raise their head has stopped them.”
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