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1974: Man dies in race rally clashes

A march through central London has left one person dead and many more injured as rival demonstrators clashed with police and each other.

One man died at the scene while up to 39 policemen and several demonstrators received treatment for cuts and other injuries.

The National Front was marching to protest against the government's amnesty for illegal immigrants.

As a counter protest, the Liberation group also set up a march to end in the same place on the same day.

Members of the International Marxist Group (IMG), marching with Liberation, clashed with police at Red Lion Square when they attempted to continue on their pre-planned route.

The body of maths student, Kevin Gately, aged 21, was found by St John's Ambulance crew among the fighting. It is not known how he died.

The counter-demonstration's route had been agreed by organisers Liberation and the police to avoid any confrontation with the National Front who were also marching to the same destination, County Hall.

Other scuffles were reported to have broken out near Southampton Row where police horses were being used to separate protesters.

The Liberation group has condemned the violence. A spokesperson said: "This section of the IMG believed that the way to protest was to make an assault on the police which we think is senseless."

Members of the Liberation group had expressed their amazement at the police's decision to allow them to march towards the same destination as the National Front.

"When the police agreed to the meeting I must say I raised my eyebrows. It poses the question of whether they should have foreseen the geographical situation" said Liberation's London Council Chairman Sydney Bidwell.

Scotland Yard has yet to comment on its decision to allow the two marches to go ahead.

In Context
The death at Red Lion Square was the first at a demonstration in 55 years.

The following weekend hundreds of students demonstrated in Coventry and London after the funeral of Kevin Gately. A pathologist concluded he had been killed by a blow to the head.

Following the violent scenes there police stepped up their presence at all future demonstrations.

It is thought 1,200 people marched in the counter-demonstration against the National Front.

The result of the violence was a great deal of publicity for the National Front and their views. This had been the outcome those in Liberation against the march had feared most.


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