BNP leader Nick Griffin told a jury that he was subjected to racist abuse by a motorist who made a gun gesture towards him and threatened to shoot or kill him.
The politician was giving evidence at Preston Crown Court in the trial of a Burnley man accused of causing racially aggravated fear or provocation of violence while a British National Party demo was taking place in Burnley town centre over the arrest of four people.
Tauqir Khalid (23), of Windermere Avenue, Burnley, denies the charge relating to alleged events on the afternoon of November 19th last year. A demonstration was taking place outside the police station on Parker Lane over arrests which involved some leaflets. Mr Griffin told the court that some people had hooted support for the demonstration that afternoon, while others were not in favour. He gave a number of TV, radio and newspaper interviews that day.
In an initial incident, an Asian man in a taxi shouted abuse which he could not quite catch. There followed a second incident with a different car as an asian male shouted "white bastards" through his open window. He claimed the same vehicle returned a few minutes later, with the man making a gang gun gesture at him, with two fingers straightened out.
Mr Griffin told the court: "He shouted out 'Griffin you b... I'm going to...'. I took it to be 'kill you or shoot you'. It went at the same time of the gun gesture."
He said he took advice and for a short time decided to withdraw himself from the demo. "We decided it would be good to make myself scarce in case he came back and tried to shoot me".
He rejoined the demonstration about half-an-hour later. The court heard that someone noted the registration number on a "vote BNP" placard.
Mr Ian Metcalfe (prosecuting) said Khalid was arrested and interviewed about a month later. He admitted driving past the demo two to three times, but claims he had merely told Mr Griffin "get out of Burnley" and had possibly directed a V sign at him. Under cross examination by Mr Mark Stuart (defending), it was claimed that the words "white bastards" had not been shouted at him, but rather "Nick Griffin you fucking wanker".
Mr Griffin said he did not believe he had got it wrong and in response to a question from the judge, he said he was not lying about it. Mr Griffin disagreed with a suggestion that the words "get out of Burnley" had been shouted at him. He maintained that a gun gesture had been made to towards him and not a V sign.
He added: "I'm quite used to having people flick various gestures at me and it doesn't bother me. There is a difference between a gesture like that. It is a direct threat. There's nothing political about threat."
The trial is expected to expected to last three days.