On Saturday the 19th of January London Anti-Fascist joined with other antifascist organisations to show support and solidarity with our comrades in Russia who have been facing high levels of repression at the hands of the state. The date had been chosen as it was the anniversary of the murders of Anastasia Baburova and Stanislav Markelov at the hands of government backed neo-nazis. This repression has seen antifascists arrested on false charges, tortured and facing imprisonment.
At 2pm London Anti-Fascist gathered at the Cable Street mural and by 2:30pm over a hundred had assembled to show their support. The day kicked off with speakers from Russia and Ukraine who spoke on the current situation and the struggles facing not just antifascists but other left-wing activists fighting against the far-right, and how these continuous battles are being fought both in and out of government.
At around 3pm the march set off in respectful silence, although it wasn’t long until chants of the old classic “Alerta! Alerta! Antifascista!” broke out. Antifascists quickly took the road under the disapproving gaze of the local fuzz, who had mobilised at least 4 vans and a helicopter to keep an eye on the day’s events. The demo made its way along Cable Street before turning towards Commercial Road, flags flying, flares flaring, and smoke streaming. The chants continued as the demo moved on to Altab Ali Park with the banner declaring “Solidarity With Russian Antifa” leading the way.
Upon reaching our destination at Altab Ali Park, everyone gathered round the stage to hear the last of the day’s speakers from Greece, Brazil, and the Altab Ali Foundation itself. Once the talks were over everyone, who had bravely defied the cold January weather quickly made off to warm locations before heading to the benefit gig at DIY Space.
Despite the presence of the police and threats of disruption from the fascist jokers who call themselves the “Pie & Mash Squad” – and who as usual failed to follow through – the day went without a hitch. We had good numbers, emotional speeches, and plenty of international solidarity. London Anti-Fascist would like to thank everyone who turned up as well as those who organised the demo. We want offer our continued support to our comrades in Russia and all over the world who are facing continued repression.
For those who would like further information on the Russian “Network” case and are able to show their support, the fundraiser and its goals can be found here.