October 03, 2005

BNP wreath damage charge dropped

A union official arrested for laying a wreath on top of a BNP one at a Holocaust memorial ceremony has walked free from court. Martin Gleeson, 44, of Chadderton, was arrested during the ceremony in Oldham, Greater Manchester on 27 January. He had placed his wreath "assertively" on top of a BNP one, as he was so annoyed at the presence of the far-right party. He was charged with criminal damage but the case was dropped on Tuesday.

'Squashed flowers'

The case is estimated to have cost taxpayers more than £10,000. The 44-year-old engineer said: "The whole thing seems farcical to me, it is a waste of public money. I was trying to make a peaceful protest that these people who were actively trying to divide the town were using the service to create publicity for themselves. At the end of the day I squashed a few flowers. Is that a crime worthy of arrest and being charged?"

'Broken stems'

Mr Gleeson attended the ceremony to lay a wreath as secretary of Oldham TUC. The BNP were not invited but members turned up. Shocked onlookers shouted "no" as a local BNP member strolled up to the cenotaph and placed a wreath bearing the party's logo. Mr Gleeson's solicitor, Katie Wheatley, said the CPS had not given any reason for dropping the case. She said: "They probably appreciated that it was not a simple matter of a few bent stems and if it got to court it would be contested and embarrassing for them." A BNP spokesman told the BBC party members attended the memorial "in good faith". "We have done nothing wrong, and whatever Mr Gleeson thinks it is not up to him to cause outrage or damage to our property. "Many of our members had relatives who fought in that war and we had every right to be there," he said.

No, you didn't. In 1996, Nick Griffin, referring to the Holocaust, wrote, "True Revisionists will not be fooled by this new twist to the sorry tale of the Hoax of the Twentieth Century," In another article he said, "I am well aware that the orthodox opinion is that 6 million Jews were gassed and cremated or turned into lampshades. Orthodox opinion also once held that the earth is flat… I have reached the conclusion that the 'extermination' tale is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda, extremely profitable lie, and latter-day witch-hysteria."

Nobody with those views or who supports anyone with views like those should be at or even near a Holocaust Memorial Day event.

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