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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Judith Duffy

Leading Scottish writers and actors back anti-racism rally outside Erskine hotel

A DEMONSTRATION to oppose the far-right will take place outside a hotel used to house asylum seekers this weekend, with calls for an “all-out opposition” to neo-Nazis.

The Scottish Trades Union Conference (STUC), together with group Stand Up to Racism Scotland, has organised a rally on Sunday from 11am outside the Muthu Glasgow River Hotel in Erskine. 

The action is being backed by prominent names including writer Irvine Welsh, comedian Frankie Boyle and actor David Hayman.

The hotel, which has been used by the Home Office to house asylum seekers, has been targeted by far-right extremist groups since early February, with the STUC warning they are seeking to “demonise” refugees.

However, the demonstrations held by far-right group Patriotic Alternative – which subsequently split into an organisation called Homeland – have been regularly countered by trade unions, community and civic groups.

The rally on Sunday will collect food and clothes donations to be given to local community groups within the area.

An open letter – which gives  “wholehearted support” to the demonstration and calls for opposition to the “hatemongering” of the Homeland group – has also been signed by singers Eddi Reader and Deacon Blue’s Ricky Ross and Lorraine McIntosh, along with Still Game actor Gavin Mitchell, comedian Susie McCabe and author Darren McGarvey.

“We commend the local residents who have made a stand against them,” the letter states.

“People fleeing war and conflict should be welcomed here in Scotland. We believe that the decent majority in this country want to do exactly that.”

STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said: “The UK Government’s policy on refugees is a disgrace as is it nothing more than a dispersal scheme. The Erskine community and communities across Scotland are subject to a cost-of-living crisis and cuts to vital services.

“It is government, not refugees who bear the responsibility for that.

“The far right and neo-Nazi thugs like Homeland can be left in no doubt that when communities and working people mobilise to oppose their racist and divisive attitudes, we will be by their side.

“This Sunday we’re sending a clear message that Scotland welcomes those fleeing war and persecution; that we can be a safe haven for those in their hour of need when they need it most.”

She added: “Time and time again, the trade union movement and anti-racist groups like Stand up to Racism have driven out the poison of fascism from our communities.

“This weekend will be no different and we would appeal to anyone who shares in that goal to rally at the Muthu hotel from 11am this Sunday.”

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