The Battle of Cable Street
4th October 1936
The Battle of Cable Street occurred when a union of antifascists, communists and local Irish, Jewish and English people opposed a march of Oswald Mosley’s Union of British Fascists through the streets of London. The British Government refused to ban the march and instead offered police protection to the fascists leading to violent clashes with those who opposed the march.
Oswald Mosley planned a march of 2000 of his Fascist party members through the Jewish Eastend of London and was given 6,000 police officers to protect him. The police were met by an estimated 20,000 demonstrators opposing the march whilst the fascist marchers waited in safety for the march to go ahead. The antifascist demonstrators erected barricades across streets and threw missiles at police who tried to remove them to allow the march to go ahead. Local residents threw rubbish and sewage out of their windows on the marchers and police whilst others helped demonstrators who had been arrested escape. In total 175 people were injured on both sides, whilst the fascists dispersed to Hyde Park.
In response to this overwhelming opposition and fearing more violence Mosley agreed to cancel his march. The Battle of Cable Street is considered a landmark in antifascist political action as well as a shining beacon of the power of local people to oppose racism, hatred and division, despite when government fails to act or even helps those who would promote hatred.
A Prayer for the Battle of Cable Street:
Lord God of all, on the feast of The Battle of Cable Street we pray for all those who stand against the rising tide of Fascism across the world. We pray for strength and courage to stand against hatred, racism and division and pray that you soften the hearts of those who find fascism appealing and turn their minds from fear to love. Through Jesus’ most Holy Name we pray. Amen
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