About 1,500 protestors demonstrate against party festival
Protestors chant, "Nazi scum, off our streets".
Tags: UAF, Ken Livingstone, Michael Rosen, Derbyshire, Codnor’s Market Place
17th August 2009: If the British National Party was expecting a sea change in its popularity after a two-seat victory, things haven’t changed much for the party. Its agenda, regarded by many as poisonous and anti-democratic, is on the face of it still not acceptable to all. Providing a testimony to this effect is a strong protest by about 1,500 people against the party’s 10th annual Red, White and Blue festival in Derbyshire.
The protest has left four people charged; three with public order offences and a fourth with unlawfully obstructing the highway.
The march came soon after an open letter appeared on United Against Fascism’s website. Condemning the event, the letter alleged its purpose was to "build up a hardened neo-Nazi core at the centre of the organisation".
Signed among others by former London mayor Ken Livingstone, children’s author Michael Rosen and trade union leaders, the letter had added: "We condemn the BNP and its festival of race hate, and we urge people to reject this party’s poisonous and anti-democratic agenda."
With an aerial camera mounted on a remote-controlled drone keeping an eye on the protesters, a total of 19 arrests were made for "sporadic behaviour". A police spokeswoman said two others were cautioned, another two received fixed penalty notices; and a further 10 were bailed, while enquiries continue. One was released with no further action.
The huge policing operation at the three-day BNP event was carried out at a cost around £500,000 and involved more than 500 officers. At last year’s BNP event, over 30 protesters were arrested; none was charged with an offence.
After demonstrators from United Against Fascism joined forces with the TUC and Amber Valley Campaign against Racism, most protesters gathered in Codnor’s Market Place. Waving placards, they could be heard chanting, "Nazi scum, off our streets".
Reacting to the development, BNP deputy leader Simon Darby saw the demonstration as an attempt by the protesters to deliberately cause, so the BNP would be blamed. He said in the absence of protests the local people wouldn’t even know they were here, as they ordinary people having a bit of a laugh in the sun.