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Unite Against Fascism
Formation 2003
Type Pressure group
Headquarters London
Chairman Ken Livingstone
Key people Weyman Bennett
(Joint Secretary)
Sabby Dhalu
(Joint Secretary)
Billy Hayes
Lee Jasper
UAF demonstration in Leeds, 31st October 2009.

Unite Against Fascism is an anti-fascist organisation in Britain. It describes itself as a national campaign with the aim of alerting British society to the threat of the far right — in particular the British National Party (BNP) — gaining a foothold at local, national and European elections.[1]

Its chair is the former Labour Party mayor of London Ken Livingstone[2] and its joint secretaries are Weyman Bennett of the far left Socialist Workers Party and the Anti-Nazi League, and Sabby Dhalu, formerly of the National Assembly Against Racism (NAAR).

Stating that it seeks to unite a broad spectrum of society, the organisation has signatories and members from other mainstream political parties, including Conservative leader David Cameron, as well as trade union leaders, prominent members of the arts, bands and other organisations.[3]



Unite Against Fascism (UAF) was formed in the United Kingdom in late 2003 in response to electoral successes by the British National Party (BNP).[4] It began as a coalition that included the Anti-Nazi League, the National Assembly Against Racism, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) and leading British unions such as the Transport and General Workers' Union (T&G) (now Unite) and UNISON. According to Red Pepper magazine, UAF was set up by the Socialist Workers Party and the National Assembly Against Racism.[5] In 2005, the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight disaffiliated from UAF after an argument over tactics to defeat the BNP.[6][7]

At UAF's 2007 national conference, speakers ranged from cabinet minister Peter Hain to Edie Friedman of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality and Dr. Muhammad Abdul Bari from the Muslim Council of Britain, as well as figures from the major UK trade unions.[8] In November 2007, UAF organised a rally of over 1,000 people when BNP leader Nick Griffin and holocaust denier David Irving spoke at the Oxford Union.[9]

On 9 June 2009, UAF demonstrated against a BNP press conference given by Griffin and Andrew Brons outside the Houses of Parliament following their election as MEPs. Demonstrators marched towards the group with placards, chanting anti-Nazi slogans, and threw eggs at Griffin, forcing the abandonment of the press conference. Members of the press were also hit.[10] The protesters also kicked Griffin's car and beat it with placards as he was led away from the scene.[10] Two members of the public were hospitalized as a result of the demonstration.[11] Griffin claimed that the attack was carried out with the backing of the Labour Party.[12][13]

The following day, UAF demonstrated at the BNP's next attempt to hold a press conference at a pub in Miles Platting, North Manchester.[14] They chanted anti-fascist slogans and tried to drown out Griffin by playing Bob Marley songs at high volume.[14] One protester was arrested after spitting in the direction of a car belonging to a BNP member.[14]

On 8 August 2009, UAF supporters and English Defence League supporters clashed at a protest planned by EDL in Birmingham, resulting in 35 arrests.[15][16] On 19 August 2009, police arrested 19 protesters during a demonstration by UAF against the BNP's Red, White and Blue festival in Codnor, Derbyshire.[17] Four people were charged; three with public order offences and one with unlawfully obstructing the highway.[18][19][20][21] On 10 October 2009, 1,400 UAF supporters gathered to oppose an EDL-organised demonstration in Manchester. Forty-eight people were arrested during the protests.[22][23] On 22 October 2009, a UAF demonstration against Nick Griffin's appearance on the BBC's Question Time programme resulted in injuries to three police officers.[24]

On 31 October 2009, about 1,500 UAF supporters met in Leeds city centre to stage a demonstration in opposition to a protest organised by the EDL, which was attended by up to 900 of their supporters. Eight people were arrested for public order offences after minor scuffles. West Yorkshire Police and Leeds City Council issued a joint statement in which they thanked the participants for their patience and consideration.[25][26]

In January 2010, when the Pendle branch of the UAF removed a wreath from the War Memorial in Nelson that was laid down by a British National Party member.[27] Richard MacSween of the Pendle UAF said "The BNP have left a wreath and we have removed it because we don't approve of fascism." In response, Councillor George Adam, from the Nelson and District branch of the Royal British Legion, said: "I'm annoyed - they have no right to remove that wreath. The BNP is a legitimate political party and they have a right to lay down a wreath just ad any other members of the public do."[28] BNP Councillor Brian Parker added: "It's disgusting, and it's theft."

See also


  1. ^ UAF website, "What is the UAF?"
  2. ^ UAF website,"Ken Livingstone speaks out against “the BBC’s gift to the BNP”" 29 Oct 2009
  3. ^ UAF website,"UAF supporters include:"
  4. ^ "Unite Against Fascism". Socialist Worker. 2003-12-06. Archived from the original on 2003-12-28. Retrieved 2009-06-12. 
  5. ^ "Unite Against Fascism". Red Pepper (magazine). Retrieved 2009-09-12. 
  6. ^ Editorial in Searchlight, July 2005
  7. ^ Letter of resignation to UAF in Searchlight, July 2005
  8. ^ UAF website, "Hundreds gathered to launch campaign against the fascist BNP's May election offensive" 23 Feb 2007
  9. ^ Matthew Taylor, "Irving and Griffin spark fury at Oxford Union debate", The Guardian, 27 Nov 2007
  10. ^ a b "Egg attack on BNP leader Griffin". 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2009-06-09. 
  11. ^ "Two People In Hospital After BNP Protest". BSkyB. 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  12. ^ "BNP leader Nick Griffin pelted with eggs by protesters". The Daily Telegraph. 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  13. ^ "Why we threw eggs at the BNP". BBC. 2009-06-09. Retrieved 2007-06-11. 
  14. ^ a b c "BNP’s Nick Griffin finally gets to make a speech - Times Online". Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  15. ^ Published: 12:59PM BST 21 Aug 2009 (2009-08-21). "Luton bans marches amid fears of protests". Telegraph. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  16. ^ Robert Booth and Alan Travis (9 August 2009). "'Patriot' league plots more clashes with anti-fascist activists". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 10 October 2009. 
  17. ^ "BNP thugs cower behind police lines|22Aug09". Socialist Worker. 2009-08-22. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  18. ^ "Four charged as far-right festival brings chaos to Derbyshire village | Politics". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  19. ^ "Three charged over racial taunt at BNP rally | UK | Reuters". 2009-08-17. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  20. ^ Associated Press 2009-08-16 08:57 PM (2009-08-16). "4 charged after demo against UK far-right festival - Taiwan News Online". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  21. ^ Justin Penrose (2009-08-16). "Protest Clash At Bnp Festival". Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  22. ^ "Dozens arrested during protests". BBC News Online (London). 10 October 2009. 
  23. ^ "48 arrests in rival race protests". Press Association. 10 October 2009. 
  24. ^ "Anti-fascist protesters charge BBC before Nick Griffin booed during Question Time - Times Online". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  25. ^ "Protest policing hailed a success". BBC. 2009-11-01. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  26. ^ West Yorkshire Police (2009-10-31). "Leeds Demonstrations - Saturday, October 31, 2009". WYP. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 
  27. ^
  28. ^

External links



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