Letters, Thursday, October 11, 2012

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When the peace was shattered

I was at the demo in Millfield on Saturday walking with the Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition from the Uni library to the proposed mosque site in St.Mark’s.

Everything was, as your article on Monday stated, very peaceful even when we all arrived at the mosque site. There was the odd words-exchange from various protesters, but nothing prepared us for what was to come as we stood with muslim youths and elders, Uni lecturers and students and Sunderland people, young and old, white British and other groups ethnic and diverse. The police handled us anti-fascists with respect and for our safety, I presumed, kept us contained in a side-street.

Then the mob arrived.

We’d had a tip-off that there were 30 more fascists in a nearby pub. When they turned up, the roar of their anger and vitriol made them sound like an enormous crowd. Then the bangers started being thrown at us and it looked like the police were just standing by. Then two more were thrown. In total from what I saw, at least 10 bangers and other missiles were thrown at our peaceful protest. On the fascist placards there were little Scottish flags and it was reported some of their lot had come from Cumbria, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

What, I must ask, do people from these places have to do with Sunderland? Are the opposers to peace and Islam in Sunderland so unconfident of their number that they have to draft people in from other regions? Was it Dutch courage (ie. Booze) that allowed them to come and join in? What are these morons afraid of? Racist taunts and hook gestures were made at us. As if we all agreed with fanaticism! Not at all. There are extremists on all sides.

What has happened in places like Millfield and all over the world is that bit by bit, the far-right say the reason there aren’t enough jobs or why the area looks run down is because of Islam. “They’re taking our jobs”, “They are taking over our communities” and other nonsense. Economic strife has nothing to do with religion.

The police collated their evidence on cameras then made arrests.

It is about time that right-wing groups are banned from the City. This isn’t about their right to free speech. This is bullying on a mass scale and their opposition to peaceful protest.

Now everyone knows what happens when these people turn up to cause trouble in our city.

Isn’t prevention better than cure?

Yes, we will never eradicate hate and racists but we can stop them using our great multicultural city as a platform for violence and fear.

Steven Langley

Fulwell

Use your vote

I witnessed the demonstrations along St Mark’s Road, in Millfield, on Saturday, and the huge police presence in and around the general area.

 Yes, it is the demonstrators’ right to show their annoyance to what in their eyes, is a wrong decision by the council to allow the use of a building to be changed to a place of worship for Sunderland’s Muslim community.

However, why did it have to come to this?

We are told that there is currently a serious shortage of social housing in Sunderland. Considering the position of this land, surely housing would have been the correct way to go, but oh no, not our council.

With little or no regard toward the majority of local people’s needs, opinions or requirements, they create a hornets nest of unrest and protests.

I don’t blame the protesters at all, it’s the council’s fault from start to finish and everyone in this area is affected in one way or another.

 The ordinary people of Sunderland must once and for all, when given the earliest opportunity, vote for an alternative political ruling council because if we don’t, we will all suffer due to the total lack of common sense in important decision-making. You have all been told before so come on everyone vote them out!! A.S.A.P.

Mr A Clark,

Tudor Grove,

Humbledon,

Sunderland

Racist thuggery

WE are two pensioners who were demonstrating peacefully, as part of the protest against racism and fascism on Saturday.

Here we were in Millfield when a gang of Hitler’s fascist heirs paraded in; many of them bussed in to cause as much trouble as possible. We were separated from them, but the police could not protect us from the firecrackers that were being thrown into our midst. One of us was hit on the hand and another suffered an eye injury. One old man was helped away as the noise of the exploding fireworks had deafened him and made him dizzy.

This not a question of politics, left or right, but one of racism and thuggery. We are proud to live in multi-cultural Sunderland and, with many others, will continue to say no to fascism and racism.

Two supporters of the Sunderland Anti-fascist Coalition