A mass demonstration is being planned in Erskine next weekend amid calls for workers and the wider public to “drive nazi-hatred off our streets”.
It’s organised by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC), who are calling on supporters to gather outside the Muthu Glasgow River Hotel in Erskine this Sunday in opposition to racially-motivated protests being held outside the venue.
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 refugees in the hotel.
It emerged last month that the Scottish organisers in PA – who have attended protests outside the hotel, which have taken place more or less weekly since February – have left PA and set up their own organisation, called Homeland, which they hope to turn into a political party.
One of the groups who has confirmed they will be appearing at the demonstration on Sunday is Paisley Strike Solidarity.
A spokesperson told the Paisley Daily Express: “What these groups are pushing is nothing short of extremism and racial hatred – their platform is to end non-white immigration and to deport non-white people to their ancestral homelands, even if they were born and bred in the UK.
“Their ideology is fueled by a dangerous conspiracy that Jews are promoting immigration and acceptance of LGBT+ rights so that other ethnic groups can make white people a minority.”
STUC General Secretary Roz Foyer said that the anger of groups such as PA and Homeland is misplaced, saying it is not the fault of refugees, many fleeing war or persecution, that are to blame for falling living standards in the UK, adding that “Erskine needs an injection of funding and decent services, not hatred”.
Roz added: “For months trade unionists and anti-fascists have joined with Erskine community members to make clear our opposition to far-right thugs coming to stir up trouble.
“On Sunday the 21st, alongside our wider movement, we’re mobilising to show emphatically how working people reject their divisive ideology. The trade union movement has drove nazi-hatred off our streets before. We intend to do it again.”
The demonstration begins at 11am and will be a family-friendly event with food, stalls, music, picnics as well as a rally with speakers from across the trade union and anti-racist movement.
Frankie Boyle and Irvine Welsh are among those who have signed an open letter backing the anti-racism protest in Erskine.
The letter says: "We, the undersigned, give our wholehearted support to the demonstration and community event to be held in Erskine on May 21 by the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) (STUC) and Stand up to Racism - Scotland (SUTR).
"We have been disgusted by the recent efforts by the neo-Nazi group Homeland (a recent split from the fascist outfit Patriotic Alternative) to harass and intimidate asylum seekers who have been placed in the local Muthu Glasgow River Hotel by the UK Home Office. We commend the local residents who have made a stand against them.
"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.
"The STUC/SUTR demonstration will send a clear message: 'Refugees are welcome here'. We hope anti-racists from across Scotland will be in Erskine on the day to support the refugees currently housed in the hotel and to oppose the hatemongering of the Homeland group."
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