Anti-BNP groups expect more than 1,000 people from across the country to take part in a rally and march against the party's Red, White and Blue festival.
The event is due to be held on fields off Codnor-Denby Lane, Denby, for the third consecutive year, on the weekend of August 14, 15 and 16. Word of the protest plans came as the home of Alan Warner – owner of the fields where the festival is held – was daubed with graffiti.
Last year, more than 400 anti-BNP protesters took part in a peaceful rally and protest march, organised in Codnor. But, away from the march, 36 anti-BNP campaigners were arrested outside the festival site after clashes with police.
The Trade Union Congress, Unite Against Fascism, Stop the BNP and Amber Valley Campaign Against Racism and Fascism have now said they will be marching again this year, on Saturday, August 15. Last year, the march went from Codnor Market Place and down Heanor Road to its junction with Codnor-Denby Lane where it was stopped by a police cordon. About 30 protesters were then allowed to go and demonstrate in a designated area near the site's entrance.
This year's route has yet to be confirmed, as negotiations with police are not yet complete. But the groups said they wanted to get as close to the festival site as possible.
Alan Weaver, the TUC's policy and campaigns officer in the East Midlands, said: "We'd like the people in the festival to know they are not welcome in Derbyshire and we reject their politics. It's always difficult to predict how many will come. But I would think between 1,000 and 2,000. Up to 50 coaches would come from as far south as Brighton and as far north as Scotland."
One of the shopkeepers on the route said he would prefer it if the march did not happen. Bill Holmes, owner of Codnor Pet and Aquatics, Market Place, said that during last year's protests, people tore down flags, including the Union Jack, which were on display outside his shop. He said: "I'll stay open. I won't shut for anyone – particularly them. They are a nuisance."
Mr Warner said protesters had already made their mark on his home by painting the words "Dead Nazi" on one of his walls and locking his farm gates shut. The incident happened during the night. Mr Warner was awoken by the driver of a delivery lorry which could not get on to his land. Police said they were investigating the vandalism and that they were also speaking to the protesters about the march route.
Activists are due to meet for a protest and mass picket in Codnor Market Place from 9am on August 15. A rally will be held from 11am followed by the march at noon.
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Stop the BNP’s Red White and Blue Festival