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Thousands across Europe march in protest against racial and religious discrimination



Thousands of people took the streets in cities across Europe to protest against racial and religious discrimination and support refugee and migrant rights.

From London to Athens, marches took place to coincide with the United Nations European Action Week Against Racism, an annual event that aims to celebrate the diversity of the continent’s societies.

Originally established to mark the brutal murder of 69 protestors in South Africa during a protest against the apartheid laws of the government in 1960, thousands came together this year to highlight modern discrimination.

Large crowds gathered in London to march through the UK capital before listening to key speakers including Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott, the President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Sally Hunt and singer-songwriter Ray Blk.

Anti-racism demonstrators were seen chanting with chains around their necks to symbolise refugees being treated like criminals. Some let off flares.

Banners were unfurled with a variety of hard-hitting and creative messages.

One woman held a placard reading “Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by colour”. Another read: “White silence = violence”.

Addressing the crowds at Whitehall, Ms Abbott said: “The far right are rising across Europe – they are anti-migrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and homophobic. We stand with all communities they target and must oppose the politics of hatred.”

Despite cloudy and wet weather in Austria, several thousand people came out in the Karlsplatz, Vienna, to march against racism, months after the far-right Freedom Party entered into a coalition government with the conservative People’s Party.

Boards reading “Mute Racism”, among other powerful messages, bobbed alongside colourful umbrellas as people stood before a stage and listened to key note speakers.

The Freedom Party campaigned for tougher immigration controls, quick deportations of asylum seekers whose requests are denied and a crackdown on radical Islam.

Organisers of a march in Glasgow said around 1,500 campaigners from a coalition of civic organisations, trade unions, political groups and others took to the streets to protest against racism.

The demonstrators marched from Holland Square to George Square where a rally was held. Speakers included Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard, Labour MSP Anas Sarwar and SNP MP Alison Thewliss.

Police said there were no reports of any issues but monitored the situation as pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli demonstrators faced off during the march.

Thousands of French protesters braved the snow in Paris to demonstrate against police brutality, and in defence of migrants and those without papers in the country.

One protester was seen wearing a grim reaper disguise and holding a shield reading: “State racism, no impunity for police brutality against those without papers.”

The French protests come as a new report shows hundreds of refugees living rough in Paris claim they have been subject to abuse from French citizens, including physical attacks and sexual violence.

More than 1,800 miles away in Athens, hundreds of Greeks took to the streets in protest against racism and the EU policy on migration two years after the EU-Turkey deal was struck.

Demonstrators held up bold messages calling for “freedom” and “open borders”, while others held photographs of young children injured due to attacks in wartorn countries.



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Advisory Committee: Yves Berthelot (France),  PV Rajagopal (India), Vandana Shiva (India), Oliver de Schutter (Belgium), Mazide N’Diaye (Senegal), Gabriela Monteiro (Brazil), Irakli Kakabadze (Georgia), Anne Pearson (Canada), Liz Theoharis (USA), Sulak Sivaraksa (Thailand), Jagat Basnet (Nepal), Miloon Kothari (India),  Irene Santiago (Philippines), Arsen Kharatyan (Armenia), Margrit Hugentobler (Switzerland), Jill Carr-Harris (Canada/India), Reva Joshee (Canada), Sonia Deotto (Mexico/Italy),Benjamin Joyeux (Geneva/France), Aneesh Thillenkery, Ramesh Sharma, Ran Singh (India)