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“No to racism in any form”: House Against Hate threw a protest rave on the Prime Minister’s doorstep

With DJ sets, an impassioned speech by Jeremy Corbyn and a police shutdown, we report from the R3 Soundsystem's protest rave calling on the UK establishment to “stop the hate”

  • WORDS: GEMMA ROSS | PHOTORAPHY: MATTKO, DILLON PARSONS, KHRIS COWLEY, EDDY HUBBLE
  • 20 March 2024

“Welcome to the music of the House Against Hate,” announced MP Jeremy Corbyn as he stepped onto the convoy truck parked outside Downing Street on Saturday, speaking in front of thousands who gathered in protest of the racism that is systemic in UK society. “Thank you for the music, thank you for the joy.”

5,000 people flocked to Whitehall outside the Prime Minster's home at 10 Downing Street over the weekend to take part in a protest rave set up by R3 Soundsystem and Black Artist Database, HOUSE AGAINST HATE, calling on the UK establishment to “stop the hate”. With support from Stand Up To Racism UK, Love Music Hate Racism, and plenty more, the DJ-backed protest was set up to fight against the “racist, xenophobic, transphobic, anti-immigrant, genocide enabling contingent in the UK establishment,” while concurrently raising funds for Medical Aid For Palestinians (MAP).

HOUSE AGAINST HATE coincided with rallies in Glasgow and Cardiff as part of the United Nations Anti-Racism Day, also known as the International Day for the Elimination Against Racism. Among those in attendance were Hot Chip, NIKS, Jamz Supernova, Leon Vynehall, Shanti Celeste, Heléna Star, and Yazmin Lacey, each delivering DJ sets throughout the day in support of the cause, while a line-up of MCs including Bimini, Normski and Jeremy Corbyn took the stage one by one.

After delivering an impassioned speech where he pledged his support for Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott, who last week learned of racist comments made by Conservative party donor Frank Hester in 2019 saying that he believed she “should be shot”, Corbyn spoke to Mixmag about showing solidarity with her and victims of human rights abuses. “I’m here to join thousands of others in saying no to racism in any form in our society,” he said, “and to support refugees and asylum seekers who are denigrated, abused and beaten up on our streets, to point out that there are millions of us who are in solidarity with those who are victims of human rights abuses, war, and environmental disasters.”

“I was last night outside Hackney Town Hall in support of [Diane Abbott], and I was actually moved by the number of people there. At a few hours notice, 2,000 people came and showed their support for their MP,” Corbyn told Mixmag. “That doesn’t happen very often, if ever, in British society, and it shows the love and solidarity there is for her for the abuse that she has received, the death threats, and the systematic abuse and the denigration of her, and her strength in standing up against it.”

The Islington North MP was also joined on the day by MCs including comedian and drag queen Jonny Woo, and British fashion designer Katharine Hamnett, who pulled off her T-shirt on stage to reveal another calling for the end of Israel's attack on Gaza, which was recently ruled as "plausibly" amounting to genocide by a US court. Drag Race star Bimini Bon-Boulash also delivered a speech on stage, later speaking to Mixmag about dance music’s role in fighting racism and the oppression of immigrants in the UK. “Dance music was created for joy, especially house music which came off the back of Black, queer, Latino people in the ‘70s and ‘80s,” they explained. “It’s why we’re here today, it’s all about love. That’s something the Tories will never get because they don’t know what love is.”

On stage, photographer and broadcaster Normski delivered ad-lib support throughout each DJ set, encouraging the thousands-strong crowds to dance and donate as they held up pickets emblazoned with slogans including ‘Black Lives Matter’ and ‘Refugees Welcome’. “I’ve been part of R3 Soundsystem for a while,” Normski told Mixmag as he exited the stage. “We’re basically trying to stand up for what’s right and to just be part of a very important day. It’s all about standing up for peace and unity, especially with the amount of things going on in the world.”

With two hours still planned to go ahead, police made moves to shut down the event. They abruptly entered the crowds, stood in front of the protest truck, made arrests and confiscated equipment until it was ultimately called off. Stand Up To Racism UK made a statement today in the aftermath of the protest alongside a collection of photos, reading: “5,000 took to the streets in London, across the march and rally outside the Home Office, which then made its way past Parliament and past New Scotland Yard to highlight the ongoing fight for justice against police racism and violence. [HOUSE AGAINST HATE] sent a fierce message against the racist division and hate being pushed by this government and seized upon by fascists and the far right.”

Gemma Ross is Mixmag's Assistant Editor, follow her on Twitter

Photography by MATTKO, Dillon Parsons, Khris Cowley, Eddy Hubble

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