An anti-BNP rally in Lincoln ended in a tense stand-off between protesters and supporters of the far right organisation. Marchers and party supporters faced each other across the Cornhill, just off High Street, during the 30-minute confrontation. Police officers formed a barrier between the two groups, both of which held up flags.
Shocked and bemused onlookers watched the face-off between the two groups at lunchtime on Saturday – the city's busiest day.
BNP supporters held up a St George's Cross flag with the letters BNP daubed across it. In response the marchers chanted anti-BNP slogans including the words "Griffin out" and "when the BNP spreads racist lies we fight back and organise". The 30-minute incident ended peacefully when the group of eight BNP supporters left the scene.
Earlier in the day around 50 rally participants had marched from the University of Lincoln campus, along Guildhall Street and down the city's High Street, stopping at Cornhill to hear speeches.
Afterwards BNP spokesman Simon Darby, who was not in Lincoln on Saturday, said: "The BNP supporters were not sanctioned by us at all. It was just a spontaneous demonstration of support. We have got some people in Lincolnshire and got good votes in the county on June 4. These protestors are marching against the democratic process."
March organiser Nick Parker said: "We want to encourage people to stand up against the BNP and marching is our democratic right to protest. We did expect some sort of BNP presence. They often take photos and that sort of thing. When they unfurled the flag the tension was raised."