Hundreds gathered at a rally over the weekend in protest against a far right attack on a central London bookstore.
A group of 12 fascists, one wearing a Donald Trump mask, ransacked socialist bookshop Bookmarks earlier this month, ripping up books and magazines and intimidating staff before uploading a film of the incident online.
“Bookshops being attacked shows how frightened they are of ideas of a different society,”said Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn in a message relayed by David Rosenberg from the Jewish Socialist Group.
“There is only one answer – solidarity.”
The event, held on Saturday, involved a range of speakers, many of whom evoked the memory of the Battle of Cable Street when thousands of people rallied to prevent a fascist march through the East End in 1933.
“The struggle continues, We fight on. It’s a long struggle,” said Max Levitas, one of the few people still alive who took part in the event, in a message read out by his niece Ruth.
EastEnders star Ann Mitchel recited a poem by left wing East End playwright Bernard Kops, while Stop the War’s John Rees noted the establishment’s historic hostility to freedom of speech, highlighted in its threat to hang 17th century radicals for distributing radical pamphlets.
“The wealthy and the powerful always have freedom of speech,” he said. “The fight for freedom of speech is the fight to hear radical and revolutionary ideas.”
Three of those who took part in the attack were members of Ukip, who were later suspended by the party. Others are thought to be linked to Tommy Robinson’s English Defence League and other fascist groups which marched in their thousands in London last month in protest at Robinson’s jailing for contempt of court.
The invasion of the shop off Tottenham Court Road is widely regarded as a sign of the growing confidence of the far right, who now find their beliefs sitting comfortably with a number of mainstream political figures, including Trump and former UK cabinet minister Boris Johnson.
About a dozen members of the thuggish Democratic Football Lads Alliance attempted to barge into the venue where the rally was being held, but they were chased off.