Blair Peach memorial event

Thirty years ago, during the run up to the election in which Thatcher triumphed, the fascist National Front arranged a public meeting in the centre of Southall - an open racist provocation to the overwhelmingly asian local community. On the day of this meeting there was a mass shut down of shops, factories and businesses and peaceful occupation of our own streets by the local community. Protests to the Council that they should deny the NF use of our town hall were ignored and so the community blockaded its own streets. This peaceful event was brutally smashed by the police, who beat up men and women indiscriminately, drove vehicles at crowds at high speed, hospitalised many and killed anti-racist demonstrator Blair Peach. Another man almost died and there could have been more. Thus the police enabled thirty fascists from outside the area to meet in the centre of Southall, where they had not a single member. Democracy for the racists, brutal repression for the Southall community.

Hundreds of local people were attacked by the police, many taken away and dumped on roadsides miles away. 350 people were charged by the police to justify their own brutal behaviour. To ensure unfair treatement, they were tried by professional magistrates across the other side of London. The media covered the whole event by repeating propaganda fed to them by the police. The truth had to come out piecemeal over time as a result of determined campaigning by local people and friends of Blair Peach. In a landmark case, one peaceful demonstrator was compensated by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board after being held by several officers while another kicked his teeth in.

An anniversary event has been organised on Sunday 26th April this year, from 2.00pm to 6.00pm, Dominion Centre, 112 The Green Southall. There will be many community speakers.

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