Sunderland united in fight against racism

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I must take issue with an article in the Tuesday, October 16, edition of the Echo.

I feel it is incumbent on us all to be very careful on comments made around racial hatred and religious intolerance.

No doubt the hard right have singled out Sunderland as fertile ground, witness the recent “Democratic Football Lads” march.

They will fail, as the vast majority of the people of Sunderland, of all political persuasions, are decent folk and won’t fall for an agenda designed to divide us.

The Echo article reporting the conviction of a member of the DFLA march for assault of police officer (the only arrests made to my knowledge were of members of the DFLA march) stated: “The court heard Allen was part of two marches organised by left and right wing groups, which descended on the city on Saturday, September 15.”

For information; There was only one march. This was by the national DFLA hard right group with a few local supporters of similar groups.

The counter protest was stationery, stewarded and consisted of members of the Labour Party, Liberal Democratic Party and The Greens.

Crucially, also present in the counter protest were multi-faith groups including representatives from Sunderland Minster and the local mosque.

Hardly a left wing group, why not describe it as a cross section of ordinary local people opposed to hatred and racism?

Indeed, Conservative Councillor Michael Dixon speaking before the demonstration, said as quoted in The Echo: “I think as a city we ought to be standing up to racism that’s why I’m here. I hope there are people from all parties here to support us.”

It is important that all local people in a position of influence make clear their opposition to racism, xenophobia and religious intolerance.

It’s also true that local reporting should not be capable of misinterpretation.

Malcolm Bond,

Fulwell Ward Liberal Democrat