There are suspicions that the BNP, which employed far more than the normal quota of thick-necked bodyguards to watch over Griffin and Andrew Brons, had engineered the confrontation. Unusually, last night a post on the BNP website announced the “press conference” and gave a telephone number for journalists to contact for further details, and it is believed that this open invitation is how anti-fascists discovered the whereabouts of the event.
Griffin had only just begun to speak when the protesters arrived and began to pelt the North West MEP with eggs. Griffin was quickly hustled away to his car, accompanied by the press and the protesters. It was as they neared the car that a woman pedestrian was elbowed in the throat by Griffin’s minder and fell into the busy road, where she was trampled by shaven-headed thugs in the rush to save Griffin’s skin.
Ignored by Griffin and the BNP, the woman was helped by anti-fascists.
Here’s the sequence of events, taken from the ITV footage:
Later, safe in a South London pub, Griffin told ITV News that the actions of the anti-fascists were “disgusting”. He did not ask after the health of the woman knocked down and trampled by his own thugs.
Demonstrators shouting ‘Off our streets, Nazi scum’ force BNP leader to flee for the safety of his car
Nick Griffin was forced to abandon a press conference outside parliament today after protesters pelted him with eggs. The demonstrators shouted “Off our streets, Nazi scum” and chased him down the street to his car. Griffin, who was elected an MEP for north-west England on Sunday, was bundled into his car by his bodyguards and quickly driven off.
Having arrived for the press conference, on College Green in front of parliament, just after 2.30pm with fellow BNP MEP Andrew Brons, he began by attacking articles from today’s newspapers criticising him and his party. He had been speaking for only a few minutes when the protesters appeared, chanting and waving banners reading “Stop the fascist BNP”.
They threw eggs at Griffin, whose bodyguards quickly took him away through the crowd. The demonstrators kicked and hit his car with their placards before cheering as he drove off.
Weyman Bennett, the protest organiser and national secretary of Unite Against Fascism, said he believed it was important to stand up to the BNP.
“The majority of people did not vote for the BNP. They did not vote at all,” he said. “The BNP was able to dupe them into saying that they had an answer to people’s problems. They presented themselves as a mainstream party. The reality was, because the turnout was so low, they actually got elected.”
Sarah Kavanagh, the Public and Commercial Services Union’s national co-ordinator for its “make your vote count” campaign, was another of the protesters. “Britain in two places has sent the far right to be with Europe. They clearly don’t speak on behalf of the community and their views are abhorrent,” she said.
Griffin later accused the three main parties of organising the protest to stop his party getting its message across. Griffin claims the BNP is not racist, even though it restricts membership to “indigenous British ethnic groups deriving from the class of ‘Indigenous Caucasian'”. Asked yesterday how he could tell who qualified as British, Griffin said: “You just look and you just know.”
Brons, the MEP for the the Yorkshire and Humber region, told Sky news indigenous Britons were “the people of this country who were descended from people who were in this country, say, from the period after the second world war, when the country was relatively homogenous.”
All mainstream parties united in condemning the BNP after the party won two seats in the European parliament. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, said yesterday the result was “desperately depressing” and the main parties had to win back those who had voted for the far-right party.
“What the mainstream parties have to do is prove their worth – get on the doorstep, explain to people how we are going to take up their concerns, how we are going to respond to their issues,” he said. “That is the way to beat these dreadful people.”
Peter Hain, the newly appointed Welsh secretary, said: “It’s a shameful stain on Britain that we now have racists and fascists representing our country. It is vital that everyone now isolates and confronts the BNP and works with United Against Fascism to defeat them.”