Racism, Resistance and Repression in the North of England

Karen Evans, University of Liverpool

At the turn of the twenty-first century far-right forces re-appeared on the political stage across Europe. In Britain the far right British National Party (BNP) achieved its best electoral results at the June 2001 General Election.

Against this background -- and with the BNP focusing its attention on towns in the north of England -- the summer of 2001 witnessed significant disturbances in three towns: Oldham, Bradford and Burnley. In each case years of racism, poverty and inequality created the conditions where-by second and third generation Asian youth took to the streets to protect their communities from organised racists and protest against their conditions of existence.

The disturbances created substantial damage, brought the protestors into conflict with organised racists and the police, and opened up both debate and conflict within the Asian community. They also brought the full weight of the law upon the protestors, with many receiving harsh penalties from the criminal justice system.

Based on the life-stories of Asian community members in the three towns (including some of those convicted for their part in the events) the paper examines the effects of racism on Britain's Asian community, and the nature and consequences of chosen forms or resistance.

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Updated 05/20/2006