SATURDAY, March 19 is United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. As in previous years, Keerfa, the leading Greek anti-racist and anti-fascist organisation, is calling for a global day of demonstrations against racism on that day.

The call could not be more timely. Coupled with the growth of Islamophobia, we are witnessing the biggest refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War.

Responses to that crisis have been highly polarised. On the one side, we have seen thousands left to drown in the Mediterranean as EU rescue vessels are withdrawn, the use of barbed wire fences and tear gas to defend Fortress Europe against those feeling war and persecution, and the threatening rise of the populist and far right in many parts of Europe.

Yet on the other, there has been an unprecedented upsurge of sympathy and practical support from ordinary people in many countries. According to one recent report, more than one in three of the British population has done something positive to support refugees in the last few months.

On Saturday week, Stand up to Racism is organising major demonstrations in Glasgow, London and Cardiff which will coincide with demonstrations in cities across Europe and around the world. The demonstration in Glasgow has the active support of the STUC, the Scottish Refugee Council, Positive Action in Housing, the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and many other organisations. It will provide an important opportunity for Scottish civil society to send out a clear message that refugees are indeed welcome in Scotland and that Islamophobia and other forms of racism have no place in a civilised society. We urge all concerned individuals and organisations to support this demonstration.

The Glasgow Girls and Euan Girvan, teacher; Aamer Anwar, lawyer and campaigner; Margaret Woods, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees; Robina Qureshi, Director, Positive Action in Housing; Phil McGarry, Chair, Peoples Assembly (Scotland); Pat Rafferty, Regional Secretary, Unite Scotland; Elaine Smith, MSP; Martha Wardrop, Green Party Councillor; Margaret Sweeney, Chair of Glasgow Night Shelter for Destitute Asylum Seekers; Nicola Fisher, Chair, Glasgow Stop the War Coalition; Arthur West, Chair, Scottish CND; Justice and Peace Scotland; Tom Leonard; Tony Higgins, FIFPro (pc); Mark Brown, Theatre Critic; Davey Anderson, playwright; Penny Stone, musician; Professor Iain Ferguson; Professor Willy Maley; Professor Henry Maitles; Professor Philip Taylor; Professor Emeritus Geri Smyth; Dr Shereen Benjamin, University of Edinburgh; Dr Marion Hersh, University of Glasgow, UCU NEC; Naomi Junnor, Unison NEC member ; Luke Henderson, UAF Edinburgh; Christine Schoeck; Lorraine Barrie; Joan Weir,

c/o 2 Dalsholm Place, Glasgow.