“The horrific attacks that have taken place recently will be rightly condemned by all right thinking people.”
“Our thoughts must now go out to the friends and family of the victim.”
“I’ve read the statement from Chapplefield Mosque below and know those sentiments will be shares by similar communities across the city and county of Norfolk.”
“The individuals who committed this attack do not represent the values of Islam or the people the purported to carry this act out in behalf of.
“It’s a sad fact that anyone in our community feels the need to distance themselves from such a crime. ”
“However, there are those siren voices who would seek to divide and alienate certain sections of our community. I would urge people to ignore them.”
“As the recent ‘We are Norwich’ event overwhelmingly showed, we in this city value our shared bonds of community. We will not be divided by those who seek to sow hatred and mistrust.”
We are Norwich strongly condemns the appalling murder on a man today in Woolwich. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.
We also strongly condemn any racist or fascist group who try to hijack this atrocity with bigotry and violence in an attempt to stoke racial tensions for their own political gain. At the time of writing this statement too few details exist to make well founded judgements and We are Norwich asks everyone to remain calm. It is regrettable that there are reports of the English Defence League rampaging through the streets of London and attacking mosques.
We as a group will not let an entire community come under attack because of a minority of radicals.
We need to look at the facts: Islamic terrorist attacks account for fewer than 100 deaths in the UK, a figure which is clearly too high. But, in recent years, we’ve seen the IRA admit to the death of over 1,800 “non-combatants” alone. We should remember that Anders Breivik, a white Christian killed nearly 70 mostly young people on and around the island of Utøya, Norway and we’ve seen reported many school shootings by mostly white, non-Muslim people in the United States.
At no point do we intend to protect any murder or act of terrorism, but it is clear that the real enemy is not Islam but extremism.
Less than a week to go now until our superb fundraising gig (see details below).
Hoping to see you at the Blueberry from 4pm on Sunday. Can you donate any raffle prizes?
I had the pleasure of speaking last week at Kings Lynn Trades council on behalf of We are Norwich. Always a pleasure to travel and talk about our campaign. Thanks for the invite guys!
From 4pm onwards at the Blueberry, Cowgate, Norwich…
Last year, over 2,000 people marched in Norwich against the EDL. We want to keep Norwich a fine anti-racist and anti-fascist city. Come to this Fundraiser to support these aims, find out what our future plans are and hear some great music and speakers!
- Listen to some live music: Sancho Blanco, Kimberley Moore, Broken Window Effect, The Mighty Whispers, Moxy Gerban, Jonathan Marriott, Sugar Mouse, ACivilianInvention and Girl in a Thunderbolt.
- DJs Jules, Wellings, Jasmine and StayRed will be spinning some fantastic tracks.
- There will be some rousing speeches from local/ national speakers.
- We will launch our fantastic “Keep Norwich Fascist Free” Campaign.
- There will be a raffle which includes authentic anti-fascist badges and posters from the struggle in Greece.
Ticket price: £3 unwaged, £6 waged, £10 solidarity payment
We are taking a coach to Cambridge on Saturday 23rd February. The cost of the coach will be around £10 waged and £5 unwaged.
If you would like a seat on our coach or to get involved in any of our activities listed below – email email@example.com
- We agreed to take a coach to Cambridge in support of the Counter- Demonstration to the EDL on the 23rd February 2013. .
- We will hold a LoveMusicHateRacismandHomophobia (LMHRH) Gig towards the start of the year. Please get in contact with us if you want to take part!
- We will show solidarity with anti-fascists in Greece facing the challenge of Golden Dawn on the 19th January (http://uaf.org.uk/2012/11/solidarity-with-greek-anti-fascists-sat-19-jan-2013).
- We agreed to keep a link with Unite against Fascism both locally and nationally, sending delegates to national meetings and inviting speakers to Norwich, although people thought it was also very important to keep our own We are Norwich brand strong.
- We talked about the importance of Education and will continue to work on getting the Ann Frank Trust to a Norwich school.
- We agreed to with the pubs in Norwich to make Norwich a Nazi-free zone. We will speak to local pubs/ businesses and consider making WAN stickers to display on the door.
- We agreed to try and arrange a campaigning day at Carrow Road and to learn what NCFC are doing to eliminate racism on the terraces. We noted the horrendous treatment of Norwich defender Sebastian Bassong both at Swansea and on Twitter following the game.
- We agreed that it was important to continue to grow WAN through affiliations to community/ trade union/ faith groups. We can all be responsible for this.
- People seemed happy to democratically plan our activity via organising meetings such as these, rather than elect a committee.
Written by Nick O’Brien (secretary) and agreed at our last organising meeting.
The We are Norwich (WAN) counter demonstration was a massive success. Around 2,000 people came out on the 10th November to stand against the racist and fascist English Defence League (EDL). We had a broad coalition on our side – comprising 25 different groups -including the Chapelfield Mosque, the Norwich Progressive Jewish Society, the Norwich Pride Coalition, the student’s union at UEA, the Labour Party, the Green Party, a whole host of Trade Union associations and many more groups and individuals. We thank everyone for their support. People were adding their support to our Coalition up to the day itself when we were joined by a large delegation of Quakers. Even Chloe Smith MP, after months of deliberation knew that on the day she had to be seen to be on “our side”. We liaised positively with the police and our event was determined, militant but entirely peaceful. There were a good number of families on the demonstration and it was important that people felt it was a safe event to bring their children along to. As predicted the EDL were a small, violent, anti-social and out of touch minority. Around 80 of them turned up, their march beginning in chaos when they went the wrong way and started fighting. Four members of the EDL were arrested on the 10th, in most cases for carrying weapons. There were shots of members of the EDL making Nazi salutes. After a pitiful demonstration that was frequently drowned out by our counter demonstration and angry locals the fascists were chased out of town and on to their trains.
Since the 10th November there has been a lot of praise for WAN and many individuals, groups and local businesses have expressed a strong desire to work with us in the future. The Sir Garnet pub, located right next to the sterile area in front of City Hall put on their blog “To watch them face the crowd on the other side, a crowd stronger not only in size but intellect and love made you feel utterly defiant. I suddenly realised I should have a great big “We are Norwich” flag draped from the windows or something. To all those who were part of and organised the anti-protest under the banner WAN, you have my utter respect and thorough gratefulness that you exist in this city.” Emma, editor of the influential Outline magazine wrote “In all our various guises, religions, sexualities etc, we were unified in bloody LOVING our city and each other.” Although it would seem inconceivable that the EDL would return to Norwich any time soon, they do seem to make a habit of repeating their worst failures. Only five weeks ago they returned to Walthamstow, the scene of one of their worst ever humiliations several weeks previously. It seems crucial that we keep this powerful and unifying coalition together. Even if the EDL do implode, history tells us that there are always other groups ready to spring up and step into their shoes. Following the 10th we were criticised by some local anarchists for not supporting an anti-fascist arrested by the police. We wish to clarify that despite not having worked with the activist arrested in the lead up to the counter-demonstration we actively asked for information about two separate incidents, contacted people we did know personally for information, offered to hold an emergency meeting and some WAN activists supported the comrade in court at very short notice. We very much defend the right to peacefully protest (this was contained in our initial points of agreement).
Crucial to the successful, broad nature of our coalition was the idea of unity in action. We knew that the EDL were coming (although not always when!) and we understood that we had to work quickly and gather support. As we move WAN on it is crucial that we remain inclusive and focussed on action – there may be a tendency as we have less immediate time pressures to try and take positions on every single political question that confronts us. I think this would be a mistake. Too many times in the past similar campaigns have fallen apart after a good start because of comparatively small differences between different political groups. For instance, in the lead up to the 10th November, some of us would have had different positions on whether or not we would support banning the EDL. However, we united behind building the biggest possible counter demonstration and kept our own individual perspective on other issues. The Anti-Nazi League faced similar issues around debates about immigration controls and the question of Israel and Palestine in the 1970s (note how the world never changes!) and I agree very much with Paul Holborow when he said: “Unity in action! Don’t avoid debating what divides us, but fight around what unites you.” It is crucial that we feel free to debate things but continue to work around what unites us.
In the lead up to the 10th November we held five organising meetings and one public meeting of 120 people. The organising meetings were a key feature of our campaigning. Each one had over 25 people attending and although there was certainly a core of 10/15 activists who came to every meeting a very diverse group of people came along. This was a key feature of how we built.
Now we look forward…..