A BNP member has been fined for giving a Nazi salute during clashes with protesters marching against the party's annual Red, White and Blue festival. John Jones was one of a small group who argued with anti-fascist campaigners as they moved along Codnor-Denby Lane, Denby. Police told Jones, 66, to leave the scene but as he did so he made the gesture.
The three-day Red, White and Blue festival was held on fields off Codnor-Denby Lane for the third consecutive year last month. About 1,000 left-wing activists were involved in the march on August 15, at the time when the argument broke out.
Yesterday Jones, of Curtis Road, Epsom, appeared at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates' Court. He pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour which was racially aggravated. Fernando Rodrigues, prosecuting, said the group including Jones had been walking along the road when police told them to move into a field, as the protesters approached. A police cordon was formed and, as the march went past, the two groups exchanged words.
Mr Rodrigues said: "The offender raised his arm in the air in what was described as a Nazi salute. During his police interview, he stated he had come to Derbyshire from London the previous day to attend the festival. He (Jones) openly stated he was a member of the BNP and showed his membership card."
Jones, who was not represented, told the court that he was threatened with words such as "Kill the BNP" and pelted with fruit. Speaking after the hearing, Jones said he had been a party member for about 20 years but had been unable to go to the festival because of his arrest. Jones was fined £71, with £60 costs and a £15 Government surcharge. Presiding magistrate Anthony Stanley said the salute was a "serious offence". However, Kirit Mistry, executive director of Derby Racial Equality Council, which was involved in organising the protest, said the fine was not enough.
He said: "He should also have been told to complete a cultural awareness programme as part of his punishment."
BNP spokesman Simon Darby said Jones would face a disciplinary hearing to decide his future with the party. Two other men, Saville Davies, 25, of Hollywell Avenue, Codnor, and a 17-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, pleaded not guilty to the same charge as Jones. They will appear for trial in December.
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