Clashes between pro-and anti-Galloway protestors at mayoral election rally

Galloway speaking to the crowd alongside John Hamilton at the rally. Pic: Maraam Nusair 

Angry scenes of confrontation broke out between pro-and anti-George Galloway supporters when the newly elected MP for Rochfale attended a Lewisham mayoral election in support of candidate John Hamilton . 

The crowd of some 100 people had gathered outside the Civic Suite in Catford, Lewisham on Tuesday night. Most of the crowd arrived to show their support, while some anti-Galloway Labour supporters protested against the two. The supporters clashed, disrupted speakers, and exchanged heated arguments.

Some of those in support were waving the Palestinian flag and holding up pro-Palestine placards and banners.  While most of the crowd cheered in unison, three people appeared to be present as anti-protesters, holding placards that read: “‘GALLOWAY – divisive, self-serving, Stalinist, not welcome in Lewisham’”. They attempted to interrupt speeches by shouting “this isn’t Syria” and “Galloway is a disaster”.  

Crowds at the rally. Pic: Maraam Nusair

John Hamilton is veteran left wing activist campaigning for Lewisham mayor for Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain and has become known through his campaign slogan “if you vote Tory or Labour, you are voting for genocide”. 

A protester holding an anti-Galloway/Hamilton placard. Pic: Maraam Nusair

They also argued with people in the crowd who were there in support of Galloway and Hamilton, fighting and shoving one another to position placards in front of those holding up anti-Labour signs.

Two opposing placards held by protesters in the crowd. Pic: Maraam Nusair

Hamilton appeared untroubled by the hecklers saying: “If I win as [Lewisham] mayor in this election on Thursday, then it’s easy; I can just call a referendum.” 

‘Shiver’ in the House of Commons

Galloway, who won Rochdale on a platform of support for Gaza and anti-Keir Starmer said: “I believe that politics has changed, as a result, not just of my victory but of the Government’s panic response to it. 

“Everywhere there is a shiver running along the benches in the House of Commons, looking for a spine to run up and failing so far to find one. They are in a state of panic because what happened in Rochdale was not just a victory for the Workers Party, but a defeat for the two establishment parties of the state.” 

He also repeated: “We despise the Prime Minister, and we despise his opposite number, if anything, even more. If there’s any TV here, I promise you they won’t run this, but as Malcom X said: the wolf when it comes towards you, you’re in no doubt about its intentions. But the fox appears to be smiling, although its intentions are precisely the same.” 

‘I don’t expect to win’

Hamilton told Eastlondonlines: “I’m very pleased with the rally; it was great to have Galloway here to inspire people. I don’t expect to win this election, I’m sorry to have to say. If we look back at history, Labour has always had a huge majority [in Lewisham].” 

Hamilton has stood for mayor of Lewisham four times, previously representing People Before Profit. He said: “I’ve always done reasonably well, I’ve always got a similar vote to the Greens, or the Lib-Dems or the Tories. 

“All four non-Labour candidates generally get a similar vote, between 6 – 9%. It’s likely to be different this time, but whether or not I can get more votes than Labour which has a big machine of people who go around telephone canvassing,” 

The election for Lewisham mayor will take place on Thursday. Seven candidates are standing including Conservative candidate Siama Qadar and Labour candidate Brenda Dacres.  

Hamilton also told Eastlondonlines: “I’d like to see some work between the Lib-Dems, the Greens and the Workers Party in the future to only stand one candidate.  “I’d be willing to work for a Lib-Dem or a Green candidate because it’s important to break their [Labour’s] stronghold, the Labour monopoly [in Lewisham]. It’s certainly not a democracy.” 

Hamilton’s election ‘would be a disaster’

Also present at the ralley was Nick Long, a left-wing independent candidate who is being backed by the Transform Party, a new left-wing political party founded in November last year, is also standing to abolish the position of mayor.  

He told Eastlondonlines: “I’ve been active in Lewisham politics for many years. My differences with the Workers Party are over traffic calming, they are not in favour of ULEZ [Ultra Low Emission Zones] and they want to increase traffic speeds to 30mph. 

“You can’t fault Galloway on his politics in terms of Palestine, but many of his politics around broader issues are very concerning and worrying. It would be a disaster if John Hamilton was elected here.” 



Leave a Reply