Freya Marshall Payne
On June 28th an estimated 200 people gathered on The Level despite a heavy downpour to attend ‘Brighton and Hove Stands together’, a rally held as part of a nation-wide effort to get Leave and Remain supporters to constructively move on from the EU Referendum according to organisers.
The event emphasised the need to find positive ways to move forward from the referendum, which was held on June 23rd and saw 51.9% of voters choose to leave the EU.
A number of local councilors and activists addressed the crowd, including Sussex MA student Callum Cant representing Brighton Anti-fascist Network. Dr Lucy Robinson, Senior Lecturer in History at Sussex, also spoke.
Dr Robinson, who in addition to being a Sussex lecturer is also the ‘minister for nagging’ of the People’s Republic of Brighton (a joke facebook page which she said may have become a little too serious), asked: “How do we make our little community safe for everyone but more importantly our global community?”
She continued: “I’m not going to tell anybody how they should feel, whether they should respond with love or with anger, or a mixture of both. “There’s a place for solidarity and love but righteous anger needs to be acknowledged too.

“I’m not going to tell you what your tactics should be. Each other’s tactics are not the problem. But I do believe that we can do more than shout ‘not in my name’. We can organize on whatever levels, in our everyday lives, on the streets AND in mainstream politics.

“We can refuse the divisions that have been imposed upon us. We can insist that we all get the world and community we deserve.

“We can refuse to be sacrificed for some Eton boys’ game. We can refuse to stay broken.”

However, Green Councillor Tom Druitt took a different stance, encouraging everyone at the rally to find a stranger and give them a hug. He said that he encouraged everyone to campaign peacefully for the loving, welcoming, open community of Brighton and Hove and beyond.

Said Mr Druitt: “I was angry.  Angry that so many people had been duped by a pack of lies.  Angry that the right-wing media had perpetuated the myths so willfully and effectively.

“Angry that people had been taken in  and targeted their understandable disillusionment and frustration with the establishment, not at the people who are actually responsible, but at the most vulnerable in our society.”

Green councillor Phelim MacCafferty warned that Sussex University together with the University of Brighton will lose £730 million a year of EU research funding for future scientists, medics and engineers.

Mr MacCafferty also urged the audience to join him in proclaiming: “immigrants, you are welcome here”.

Following on from this rally, Brighton Antifascist Network have announced an anti-racism event to be held on The Level on Sunday July 3rd. Supporters are asked to gather at 12.30pm.

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