June 20, 2009

Protests at BNP's 'victory' rally

Hundreds of anti-fascist demonstrators are expected to picket a British National Party "Victory" rally.

Extra police will be on patrol as Nick Griffin, leader of the far-right party, attends the two-day event entitled Victory 09, at the New Kimberley Hotel on the promenade in Blackpool.

About 100 BNP activists are expected at the event, which has been held in the past as a party summer school but as the party now has two MEPs in its ranks, Mr Griffin said it will be a mixture of a victory celebration and a "de-brief" about their European election campaign.

Mr Griffin, one of the party's MEPs, will speak at the event just weeks after he was targeted by protesters who attacked his car and pelted him with eggs when he arrived for the Euro election count at Manchester Town Hall. He had to be smuggled in by a back door after emerging from a police van. And he was again attacked by demonstrators on the Green outside the Houses of Parliament as the BNP tried to stage a news conference the day after his election.

A spokesman for Unite Against Fascism (UAF) said he expects "hundreds" to turn up outside the hotel to protest. The UAF said trade unionists, students and ordinary members of the public had pledged support to show their opposition to the BNP.

Lancashire Police said officers will be on patrol around the area of the venue to keep the peace. Chief Inspector Karen Simister said: "A policing operation focused on ensuring the safety of the public has been put in place to ensure that the event and associated protests pass without incident."

Southport Visitor

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