M1 crash victim Jason Mercer was 'committed anti-fascist' who staunchly defended Rotherham 12 victims
An anti-fascist pressure group has paid tribute to tragic Rotherham-man Jason Mercer who was killed in the horror M1 crash near Meadowhall on Friday.
Jason was one of two men killed in the in the collision on the northbound M1 between Junction 34 and 35 at around 8.15am.
Tributes have poured in for the 44-year-old since news of his death was confirmed by South Yorkshire Police on Monday, including from his wife Claire.
Anti-fascist pressure group Unite Against Fascism have also sent their condolences after revealing Jason was a ‘committed anti-fascist’ himself.
The group revealed that Jason was also staunchly in defence of the victimised Rotherham 12 group and spoke at their trial.
Posting on Facebook, the tribute read: “RIP Jason Mercer - Tributes pour in for popular Rotherham man killed in motorway crash near Meadowhall.
“Jason was a committed anti fascist who as pals recall, was staunch for instance, in defence of the victimised Rotherham12 - Condolences to his family and many friends - Jason will be greatly missed.”
The 12 Pakistani men were all charged with violent disorder after defending themselves during a Britain First protest.
On September 5, 2015, the men attended an anti-fascism march the murder of 81-year-old Mushim Ahmed in Rotherham.
The same day, Britain First staged a protest with hundreds of police deployed to keep the marches separate.
The groups clashed outside a pub with racist abuse hurled before police raided the homes of the 12 men later that month.
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All 12 men were arrested, charged and put on trial before they were acquited in 2018.
Jason Mercer was part of the counter-demonstrators and spoke in defence of the Rotherham 12 during their trial.
During the trial, Mercer said he feared for the safety of a group of Asian boys before taking pictures of the incident on his mobile phone.
He told the court: "I ran down Wellgate to get police attention because it had potential to turn really nasty.
"I was shouting and waving at them and they did not move.
“They stood on the corner and looked at me. It got louder and louder behind me and more aggressive and then the police started running down the street."
During the trial he referred to Britain First and Yorkshire’s Finest as a ‘bunch of right-wing idiots’.
A silver Ford Focus, a silver Ford transit van and a lorry were involved in the smash.
Two men were pronounced dead at the scene. Only one has been named so far.
A 39-year-old man arrested at the scene has since been released on bail pending further enquiries.
South Yorkshire Police said: “Mr Mercer’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers.”
Witnesses or anyone with dash cam footage should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 and quote incident 196 of June 7.