Socialist London bookshop attacked; three UKIP members suspended
Bookmarks bookshop in central London was attacked by a group of far-right protesters as the store was closing on Saturday, 4 August. While no arrests have been made since the incident, three members of Britain’s right-wing populist UK Independent Party (UKIP) have since been suspended, reports the Guardian.
According to the Bookseller, around 12 men carrying placards and wearing ‘Make Britain Great Again’ baseball caps entered the store chanting right-wing slogans, making racist comments and physically wrecking books and displays. One was wearing a Donald Trump mask. Neither of the two staff working at the time were physically hurt, but they described the incident as ‘frightening’ and ‘deeply unnerving’.
As Britain’s largest socialist bookshop, Bookmarks sells books on a range of topics such as women’s rights and Marxist theory. The attack follows a similar attack in central London in April, in which LGBTQIA+ bookshop Gay’s the Word had its windows smashed.
Bookmarks manager David Gilchrist said, ‘This horrific attack on a radical bookshop should send shivers down the spine of anyone who knows their history. The Nazis targeted books because they knew how important radical ideas are for challenging racism and fascism. The same is true today, and that is why we have to show that we won’t be intimidated.’
The store has been inundated with support following the attack and will be holding a free public ‘Solidarity Day’ on 11 August, at which authors and public figures have offered to speak.
‘The fantastic response Bookmarks has received since Saturday lets us know that we’re not alone—and that people understand the value of independent bookshops in a world dominated by big business,’ said Gilchrist in an article he wrote for the Guardian.
Category: International news