May 07, 2007

Unions plan demo welcome for BNP men

A demonstration is being planned by union leaders against the British National Party when its leader speaks at a top university.And at the same time 10 miles away, another demo is being planned outside a town council chamber when a BNP candidate takes his seat for the first time.

The major demonstration will be against Nick Griffin, who has been invited to speak at the University of Bath next Monday night.

University bosses gave the green light for the lecture, but warned organisers they would shut the meeting down if Mr Griffin or anyone else transgressed the boundaries of legal speech. The BNP leader was cleared last year of inciting racial hatred in a trial over a speech filmed by an undercover BBC documentary-maker.

The University and College Union are joining forces with the TUC to picket the meeting in Bath, and union members are also being called to picket the first full council meeting at Corsham Town Council, where BNP member Michael Simpkins will take his seat for the first time.

Mr Simpkins was elected unopposed in Corsham, a town where the BNP has had a high profile recently. It was criticised by police for starting civilian patrols in response to claims of anti-social behaviour by the town's youth. But civic leaders in Corsham have played down Mr Simpkins' impact, with the town clerk stating the town council was strictly non-party political.

The bigger protest is expected in Bath, after BNP leader Nick Griffin was invited by party members who are students at the university. University and College Union assistant general secretary John Perry said: "The campus trade unions are organising a protest outside the venue. Anti-fascist staff and students will attend and protest inside the venue. It is vital that academic freedom is not used by the BNP to stir up hate in our places of education."

But the BNP's youth leader Danny Lake, a student at the University of Bath, said he invited Mr Griffin to find out more about the party. "People are always reading about the BNP, but what people quite often don't have is the chance to sit there and listen to the BNP themselves putting their viewpoint across," he said.

Western Daily Press

No comments: