The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination will carry a double connotation this year. On the one hand, it will bring to mind Trump’s migratory veto and his forthcoming state visit to the UK. On the other hand, this day will remind us of the wave of xenophobia that surged through the country after the EU referendum.
The fight against racism in the world had a before and after the 21st March 1960. On this day, in Sharpenville, South Africa, the police opened fire to a group of people who were protesting peacefully against the apartheid laws.
The bullets fatally shot a total of 69 black South Africans, among them women and children, and resulted in another 180 injured citizens.
The Sharpenville Massacre marked a turning point in South African history. In fact, this event isolated the country from the rest of the world after it caused a wave of protests against the nation, which even the United Nations took part in.
In commemoration of the lives lost that day, 6 years later the UN proclaimed the 21st March as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
In fact, the most important events that fight against racism are organised in commemoration of this massacre.
However, these events have been strengthened this year by Donald Trump’s veto banning citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the USA and by the first xenophobic protests in the UK after the EU referendum last June.
On a continental level, United, the European network against nationalism, racism, fascism, and in support of migrants and refugees, has organised a series of activities all over Europe. These activities will take place between the 18th and 26th March under the slogan “Don’t be divided, stay UNITED!”
In the United Kingdom
The fight against racism and the demonstrations that will take place on the 18th March 2017 have been organised in the UK by the association Stand Up to Racism. This association relies on the support of other groups that promote community life and fight against discrimination.
Theresa May’s threat to trigger Article 50 by the end of March, which allows her to have freedom in “the way in which [she] choose[s] to control immigration” is one of the main driving forces of the protest. The event seeks to be a show of force to demonstrate to the government that the problems that plague the country are not related to immigrants and refugees, but rather to austerity and the economic crisis.
With the support of EIS, People’s Assembly Scotland, RMT Scotland, Scotland Against Criminalising Communities, STUC, UCU Scotland, Unison Scotland, Unite Scotland and Muslim Women’s Association of Edinburgh, Stand Up to Racism has organised a protest that will begin at 11 am on the 18th March in Glasgow.
Time and Place: Saturday, 18th March, 11 am. Meeting point: Holland Street, Glasgow. Later there will be a march that leads to George Square. For more information, click here.
(Translated by Shanae Ennis-Melhado)