May 16, 2007

BNP audience outnumbered by protestors

The appalling Danny Lake
BNP leader Nick Griffin has finally addressed an audience in Bath, despite protesters' attempts to stop the talk going ahead.

The controversial politician was forced to rearrange the venue three times after anti-fascist campaigners trailed organiser and Young BNP leader Danny Lake around the city. Mr Griffin had been due to speak at the University of Bath on Monday night but the invitation was withdrawn last Thursday after protests from academic staff and students. Eventually he addressed just four students in a talk lasting less than ten minutes.

The event, on a grassy area below the Royal Crescent, saw the audience outnumbered by protesters. The politician was flanked by several security guards and watched by 14 protesters and 13 police officers.

He said he would now be making greater use of the internet after his proposed meeting at the university's Claverton campus became the latest in a long line to be banned after student and staff protests.

The university authorities withdrew their permission for the meeting because of fears of disruption at a time when many students are taking exams.

"I was going to talk to politics students at the university, not about how they should join the BNP but why we are getting more support," he said. "Instead of going to universities, I am now going to make a series of films for students which I will put on the internet and produce leaflets to give out, so if students want to find out about the BNP, they can read it online, without being chased down by neo-Stalinists."

As Mr Griffin was repeatedly heckled by protesters, he answered students' questions about allegations he is a holocaust denier, believes Islam is a barbaric religion and supports capital punishment.

First year politics student Richard said: "Most people were too intimidated to come as soon as he was banned as they were worried others would label them a BNP supporter, which I'm definitely not. I don't really know what his motivation was and don't like his policies but it's important for a politics student to emphasise the importance of free speech and I was curious."

Another student, Anthony, said: "I wanted to speak to him more about his racial policies which make me feel very uncomfortable. It's those who banned him from speaking who are the fascists."

Mr Lake said he hoped to invoke the Education Act to secure Mr Griffin a platform on campus at the university.

The talk was originally scheduled for 150 politics students at the university, but sparked a furore among academic staff, students, trade union representatives and members of Unite Against Fascism. The invitation was withdrawn after the students' union voted against it and university administrators raised concerns about security. Vice-chancellor Prof Glynis Breakwell was also presented with a petition.

Mr Lake had rescheduled Mr Griffin's visit for a smaller audience at the Assembly Inn in Alfred Street but that was cancelled once the landlord, Ian Collins, was tipped off by anti-fascist organisation Searchlight.

Mr Collins said he decided to cancel the moment he knew who was involved. He alerted police who sent two riot vans to a second meeting place in George Street.

"A young man visited me the night before and asked if he could book a room," said Mr Collins. "It was a very casual arrangement. The moment Searchlight rang to tell me who was behind it, I opted to stop it. I feel that I have been hoodwinked into holding this talk."

Sgt Dave Kay, of Avon and Somerset Police, said: "We knew the BNP were planning to have some sort of event and there was the possibility of group or groups opposing it. We explained to both parties that we are here to keep the peace, are not taking sides and did not want to be in a position where we had to intervene."

One protester, Simon Fitzmaurice, 19, a student from Bath Spa University, said he found out about the event on the internet.

"I'm from near Harrogate in Yorkshire where the BNP actually hold a seat so I felt I had to be here."

Bath Chronicle


Anonymous said...

rather than raiding my personal collection on my facebook account, you should know that if you wanted a picture you only had to ask.


Anonymous said...

Get back to Stormfront, Lake you ugly freak!!!

Anonymous said...

Why do no-friend Nazi losers more often than not look less than attractive?

Anonymous said...

His eyes look more frightening than Fred West

Anonymous said...

LOL Nice responses.