March 20, 2009
Posted by Antifascist
Mr Griffin, whose party has been accused of racism because of its right-wing immigration policies, was due to address a black tie fundraising event at Broadclyst's Victory Hall this evening. But the group Hope not Hate, which campaigns against the BNP, used its website to publish the home telephone number of Roy Elkins, the hall's chairman and booking secretary, and urged people to contact him. It also sent out a number of emails containing the information.
Yesterday the BNP confirmed that its booking had been cancelled. Despite the setback, the party said it had found an alternative venue for the Battle of Britain-themed night, which is part of a national tour which organisers hope will enable them to raise £500,000 to allow the BNP to field candidates for every seat in June's European elections.
BNP spokesman Simon Danby said a campaign of intimidation and harassment had followed the party's roadshow around the country. "It is common practice for these groups to target village hall committee members," he said. "Some have had threats to their property and their homes. We are a legitimate political party and it is disgraceful that these people, many of whom have nothing to do with the BNP, have been targeted. It's very sinister."
He said he still expected between 100 and 200 BNP supporters from around Devon and Cornwall to attend the event, which would be held at a location due to be announced later today.
Gerry Gable, of anti-fascist magazine Searchlight and the Hope not Hate website, defended his actions in publishing Mr Elkin's telephone number.
"This is a tactic we have used around the country and it is proving effective," he said. "We always ask people to be polite to the person who answers the telephone when they make their point. We are perfectly within our rights to be doing this. With the BNP it's not just a few rotten apples, it's the whole barrel that's rotten."
The BNP outraged Broadclyst villagers last year when it held a public meeting in the Victory Hall.
Liberal Democrat councillor for Broadclyst and Whimple Derek Button said he was glad the village would not be hosting the party once again.
"Some people might say that we're a village hall committee and we're obliged to let the village hall without let or hindrance to anyone who applies," he said. "I might have been tempted to tell the BNP the hall was booked up for the next 49 years."
He said he was sorry Mr Elkins had been involved in the matter without his consent.
"Roy is a man who has given much of his life to the service of Broadclyst and it's a great shame that he's been dragged into this," he added.
Mr Elkins, of Beech Close, Broadclyst, chose not to comment.
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