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Anti-racism march attracts thousands

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Thousands of people attended the central London march waving placards and chanting slogans (Erem Kansoy)

Demonstrators wave placards and chant slogans in long walk across central London

Thousands of people turned out in central London for a march against racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism over the weekend.

Saturday’s Stand Up to Racism march was the demonstrators’ expression of solidarity and defiance following last year’s vote to leave the European Union and the subsequent election of US President Donald Trump.

“It’s the fourth year that we’ve held this demonstration now for UN anti-racism day, but we think this year is more important than ever,” said organiser Zakariya Cochrane.

Thousands of people attended the central London march waving placards and chanting slogans (Erem Kansoy)

He told the Independent website: “We’ve had the election of Donald Trump, with his Muslim ban and the wall with Mexico. We’ve had the EU referendum, where we’ve seen the highest increase in reported hate crime in the country, showing that the scapegoating of migrants gave confidence to racists.

“Just this week, the ruling of the Government winning the victory over the Lords on EU nationals means that our Government are prepared to use EU nationals as bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations. There was also the defeat on Dubs.

“So this year is really about anti-racists uniting and going on the defensive on all the issues: child refugees, defending migrants and refugees, the divisive policies of Donald Trump and Theresa May.”

The London march – attended by around 30,000 people – was part of a series of coordinated demonstrations across Europe to mark the United Nations’ International Anti-Racism Day.

The placard-waving demonstrators congregated outside the BBC’s offices in Portland Place, just north of Oxford Circus, before they marched to Parliament Square.

Among the speakers at the event were Tottenham MP David Lammy and Shami Chakrabarti, the shadow attorney general. Some of the speakers also pointed to Mr Trump’s controversial travel ban on some Muslim majority nations as a cause of concern.