Coventry Unwelcomes the Far Right ‘Infidels’

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Over one hundred local residents protested against the Nazi Infidels group in Coventry today. 
The protest was coordinated closely with the Coventry Trade Union Council May Day Rally. Local residents joined in increasing numbers as we explained why we were there and who we were opposing. Passers by thanked us for showing where Coventry people stand. 
Trade unionists, including Unison, young people, anti racist campaigners, local election candidates and pensioners all spoke out in support of Coventry being a city built by people from all backgrounds working together. Many pointed out that the Infidels pose no solutions to the real problems we face. A minutes silence was observed for Daniel Kirkwood and thanks expressed to his family who made a superb statement against the far right to the local paper, despite incredibly difficult circumstances. 
We ensured that we retained our position in Broadgate, right in the centre of town. The Infidels spent most of their time getting drunk in a local pub until they were escorted through the back streets to the near deserted Council House Speakers Corner. Their ‘national’ mobilisation could only muster 30 in support, nearly all old National Front supporters.

STATEMENT – ROYAL WARWICKS CLUB, COVENTRY

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As people who live, work and socialise in Coventry, we stand for a city that is based on principles of peace, reconciliation and respect. We are proud of Coventry’s reputation as a city that welcomes all, regardless of religion, ethnic origin, gender, sexual orientation and disability.

We note that Britain First claim to be a ‘patriotic’ campaign group but in reality they are a splinter group from the BNP, with a track record of physical intimidation of Mosques during Prayer time. We are proud that our city does not have a reputation as a city where those who seek to divide us, such as the BNP, EDL and Britain First, are able to organise, terrorise and scapegoat. We are determined that this will continue to be the case. We defend the freedom of worship for those of all religions.

We therefore note, with major concern, that the Royal Warwicks Club, in Coventry City Centre has hosted a series of far right meetings in recent years and appears to have become a hub for fascist meetings and activity in the city.

We note that in August 2012 the Club was approached by representatives of local campaign groups and a local Councillor and agreed to sign a statement committing to equal opportunities and to no longer host meetings by far right organisations.

We note that in July 2014, the Club was visited by the President of Coventry Trade Union Council and was asked if they intended to host a planned meeting by Britain First on Friday July 18th. The Club Manager point blank denied this was the case.

We note that on July 18th, a small meeting was indeed held by Britain First at the Club and that photos of this meeting were published by Britain First on Facebook, confirming the venue. This confirmed that the Club had both breached their commitment of August 2012 and lied to Coventry Trade Union Council about their intentions.

We call on all Coventry people to refrain from attending the Royal Warwick Club and/or booking the premises for any social or business event. We call on all military charities to also refrain from association with this premises. We will work to ensure they are facilitated in alternative locations where they wish to deliver services or raise funds.

We call on the City Council to use its maximum powers to ensure the Royal Warwicks Club can no longer function as a hub for those who espouse racism and fascism to promote hatred and division in our city.

Signed by:
Darrall Cozens – President, Coventry Trades Union Council
Cllr Bally Singh – Chair of Communities and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Board, Coventry City Council
Cllr Ram Lakha – Chair, Coventry against Racism
Tony Conway – Coventry against Racism
Jane Nellist – National Executive – National Union of Teachers
David Kersey – Unite against Fascism – Coventry
Sandra Durkin – Secretary of Coventry and Warwickshire People’s Assembly (personal capacity)

Sean Leahy – Chair of Coventry & Warwickshire Unite Local (WM6050) Branch

Clive Dixon – Love Music Hate Racism – Coventry

Steve Akers – Regional Organiser – Unison West Midlands
Email your name and any position to coventryunite@yahoo.co.uk  to add your name to this statement. Please indicate if you do not want your name to appear on public copies of the statement.
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