Yorkshire Against Hate outnumber and block the far-right in Rotherham: Report back

22 02 2023

AFN activists formed part of a large ‘Yorkshire Against Hate’ mobilisation on Saturday, opposing the latest attempt by the right to capitalise on the Home Office warehousing refugees in large hotels. In this case it was the Holiday Inn in Manvers, Rotherham. Initially called by anti-migrant livestreamers Yorkshire Rose and English Bulldog, the demo was later backed by Patriotic Alternative fascists. At its height at 2pm there was a turnout of around 150 on the far-right demo. Although this was largely a travelling roadshow featuring the usual cast of Walter Mittys and Magna Carta cranks, there were, according to anti-fascists who infiltrated the demo, also many locals.

As anti-fascists from the ‘Yorkshire Against Hate’ coalition got to the front of the hotel first, the far-right demo ended up on the verge near the ring road. This meant no direct intimidation of the refugee families in the hotel could happen. The fascist demo was however more visible. By one o’clock there was a respectable crowd of 300 or more anti-fascists and refugee solidarity activists in front of the hotel. Although there was a certain amount of mingling and scuffling and even an anti-fascist attempt to break out of the kettle, for the most part the two demos were separate and passed off peacefully.

The campaign to target migrant hotels is growing though. Inspired by events in Ireland, Patriotic Alternative, an organisation that has been slowly building in the wings, have clearly made the decision to move to public mobilisation. Not confident to do so on their own, they have piggy-backed on the loose network of serial migrant botherers such as Little Veteran, Steve Laws, Yorkshire Rose etc.

From the far-right’s point of view, the violence in Kirkby in Merseyside on the 10th February was a massive result. They will almost certainly try to repeat the formula. Where people become convinced of allegations of sexual harassment, assault or other misbehaviour against recent arrivals, these demonstrations can become a very toxic brew. That applies as much to what happens before or after the far-right are in town as on the day of a demo itself.

The fact is though that the groundwork for far-right agitation against migrants has been laid by the insane rhetoric around small boat crossings and refugees coming from the state and the media. In addition, there would be no scope for far-right activity in this area without an actively malicious government policy to house refugees in a way that appears almost intended to inflame community tensions. People are warehoused en masse in often deprived areas. Neither asylum seekers or local residents are given help with community integration. There are no liaison committees or guidance on cultural differences.

If we couple these two things together then you have all the materials at hand for a racist conflagration in towns across Britain. We have to accept that this isn’t government incompetence but a deliberate strategy to redirect working class anger over the collapse of living standards and corruption in high office. It’s later than you think.

Any anti-fascist strategy has to be based around ongoing refugee solidarity, fighting the rhetoric of the hostile environment and being seen to fight back against the government in defence of working class interests.

More info

See also this report of the day from Leeds AFN:

There are more upcoming far-right demonstrations outside hotels where asylum seekers have been placed and anti-fascist counter mobilisations against them:

Sat 25th February – Newquay
11am, Beresford Hotel
see Cornwall Resists

Sat 25th February – Nottingham
11am, Novotel, Bostocks Lane, Long Eaton NG10 4EP
(this is a Stand up to Racism event)

Sat 4th March – Dover
12:00, Market Square
see Kent Anti-Racism Network

There are likely to be more demonstrations as the far-right attempt to hold on to the momentum they have gained and recreate the violence of Kirkby – keep checking social media for more updates.



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