Aylesbury Council accused of obstructing anti-racist carnival

The committee organising a call for a peaceful celebration of Aylesbury’s diverse community on May 1st to challenge the ideas of the EDL condemned Aylesbury District Council’s lack of support for the event.

The planned carnival against racism, a music event with speakers from across Aylesbury’s diverse community, had received backing from Aylesbury’s town mayor, the Bishop of Buckingham, the Rabbi of South Bucks Jewish Community, the Racial Equality Council plus PCS, CWU, NUT and UNISON union branches. Organisers have been trying to negotiate a venue in Aylesbury town centre but have been denied council permission.

Julie Simmons of Love Music Hate Racism who has been booking rap artists, bands and DJs to play for free said: “We first approached the council nearly two weeks ago and it has been like getting blood out of a stone in terms of what we needed to do to hold our event – we have organised an event in this time and yet have hardly heard anything in response, though the council has not held back in telling everyone to stay at home.

“We found we had to ask exactly the right question to get an idea as to the process we had to follow. Absolutely nothing was volunteered. Today the Safety Advisory Group made it clear they would not be happy with our plans for a modest event, demanding a level of organisation more suggestive of Glastonbury. It was clear they don’t want the event to go ahead. Meanwhile a gang of known racist thugs can waltz into town and hold their event in Market Square without any objection.”

Roger Priest of Aylesbury Racial Equality Council said: “We are calling on the Council to let the event go ahead without unnecessary and prohibitive requirements. This is a peaceful assembly in Vale Park to listen to music and speakers. Reasonable safety measures have been taken by the organisers. Similar events have happened without this level of restriction. Rather than allow people a peaceful outlet for their opposition to racism the council seems intent on adding insult to the injury of having a racist rally in our town centre. This council is giving people more to be angry about and is increasing the risk of problems on May 1st.”

Ian Mckendrick of Unite Against Fascism said: “We have been trying to work with the council about organising our music event as an alternative to confrontation on May 1st, yet the Council is blocking us while at the same time letting the racists hold their event unchallenged. The council should be throwing its weight behind the anti-racist community of Aylesbury and not pandering to these racists. The council should be ashamed of the message it is sending out. They talk about the safety of our event, but have nothing to say about the safety of the Muslim population from racist attacks if the EDL grow unchallenged.”

The organising committee agreed to go ahead with the original protest against the EDL in Vale Park between 12 and 2 on May1st and will be issuing a call for mass support for this event at its public rally on Monday 26th April at the Community Centre in Aylesbury’s multicultural centre.

Indymedia, 23 April 2010