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Alliance formed to fight racism; BNP successes feared.

Byline: Chris Brown

TRADE unions have set up an anti- fascism group to try to stamp out racism on Merseyside.

The Merseyside Coalition against Racism and Fascism has be en created in response to attempts by the British National Party to win six council seats in the area last May.

The group consisting of unions, businesses and religious groups is setting out to raise awareness of the dangers of fascism.

Speeches, written material and a concert are all currently being planned.

The decision to set up the coalition was made after a fight between the unions and the BNP over a public meeting prior to the May council elections Merseyside TUC mounted a legal campaign in the High Court to prevent a meeting taking place at Anfield Comprehensive.

The challenge cost them in the region of pounds 5,000.

The meeting was called off after the BNP missed a deadline to sign legal documents.

Protesters gathered outside the Liverpool school even though the event was not taking place.

Next year,everybody in Liverpool City Council will be up for reelection and it is feared that far right political parties will use the opportunity to try to win seats.

European parliament elections will be held in June. Merseyside is included in a European electoral area which covers a large portion of the North of England including Bolton and Burnley both which already have BNP councillors.

The European Parliament uses proportional representation so the coalition fears that BNP leader Nick Griffin may win a seat.

The group wants to combat the efforts of the party by publishing material and raising awareness of some of the BNP's beliefs.

President of the coalition Alec McFadden said: ``We respect the stance taken by Liverpool manager Gerald Houllier saying that he would not tolerate racism towards his players.

``If the BNP got their way,Liverpool would have to lose three quarters of its team because they do not want people from other countries working here.

``We are trying to set up a music festival at the moment to appeal to younger people.

``People my age were told by their parents ab out what can happen with fascism but it is more difficult to explain now.

``We are currently working on writing speeches and written material to highlight what the BNP stands for.''
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Sep 15, 2003
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