August 12, 2008

Residents left furious after secret BNP rally is held in village hall

Residents are fuming after finding out the British National Party held a secret political rally at their village hall.

 The meeting, at Broadclyst Victory Hall, near Exeter, was attended by around 100 members as well as party leader Nick Griffin. It was partly organised by a local youth group leader as the right-wing party targets Devon in a bid to drum up support.

 The BNP's policies include calling a halt to all immigration, deporting all those who commit crimes and whose original nationality is not British, withdrawing from the European Union, restoring corporal punishment and abolishing anti-discrimination laws.

 Mr Griffin once described the Holocaust as "a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lies and latter-day witch-hysteria".

 A number of people living in Broadclyst are outraged the covert meeting took place in their village.

 Resident Brian Kirby said: "I'm totally shocked. I don't like the thought of it at all — I'm totally opposed to them. I hadn't heard anything about it but if I heard it was happening again I would object. I'm not happy about it at all."

 Another villager, who did not want to be named, said: "I'm against it, I don't want them having meetings here. I don't agree with them and I think they're no good to mankind."

 Another anonymous resident said: "I don't like thinking they're in the village. I don't like their policies and I'd rather they didn't hold these rallies at all. A party that keeps things secret is doomed from the beginning."

 Parish councillor and BNP member Colin Fribbens, who runs the village's youth group, helped organise the event, which took place last month. He said: "We're a political, common-sense party. We're not racists or fascists. People seem to be coming across to us in large numbers. They're generally fed up with Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives and they're looking for something new. The meeting was well attended by people from Broadclyst, Exeter, East Devon and the surrounding area. It was great and we made four new members that evening. There will be lots of meetings in the future around here. We're growing all the time here, which is great. You're going to see more about us."

 The party's deputy leader, Simon Darby, said: "We have to keep meetings secret otherwise people turn up and cause trouble and we get the blame. We have to keep it very quiet and generally members only. We'd love to have open meetings but you can guarantee lefties would turn up and spoil it for everybody. People want to hear Nick speak, he's an interesting chap. He was talking about peak oil, the threat of fundamentalism and various other things. All the Westcountry meetings were very positive.

 "Support is very good in Devon. A lot of people are becoming interested in the BNP now there are migrant workers and a shortage of houses. Also, people are moving from London and the Midlands into the Westcountry and are very familiar with what's happening. Devon's an area that's looking interesting for us."

 Roy Elkins, chairman of Broadclyst Victory Hall, admitted he had received a complaint about the meeting.

 He said: "It didn't affect anybody whatsoever as far as I'm concerned. If I thought for a moment it would, then I wouldn't have accepted the booking. It was simply a hire. I don't look at it politically. I believe in freedom of speech."

This is Exeter

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