3 March 2009

St Albans campaigner warns of "racists and fascists"

Activists who fear the far-right British National Party may be holding a rally in the St Albans area have vowed to prevent it with a noisy but peaceful demonstration.

The party has announced on its website that it will be holding a “Battle for Britain Campaign Road Show” at an unknown Hertfordshire location on Saturday to mobilise support for its efforts win a seat in the European Parliament in June. The website proclaims: “We will unveil our strategy for the election as well as having party chairman Nick Griffin delivering his ‘Call to Arms’ keynote speech..

“These black tie premier events will be a spectacular start to our campaigning, with a sound, light and vision show that will inspire us all as we take centre stage in this year’s epic struggle to secure our place in history. A champagne reception and light supper will be provided. Believe me, you do not want to miss out, so get your tickets today, while there are still some left!”

Jon Berry , who lives in St Albans and is the local representative of the national organisation Unite against Fascism said: “The BNP don't say exactly where they are going to hold their meetings because they don't want us turning up and demonstrating.

“We will find out where it is and if it is anywhere around St Albans I can promise there will be a noisy demonstration to show these rascists and fascists, many of whom have criminal convictions for violent offences, that we don't want them here. We will be entirely peaceful and legal, but I think we can ensure that any venue which allowed it self to be used as a platform for the BNP will regret it.”

Simon Deakin, an elected BNP member of Markyate Parish Council, who is standing in the Markyate and Flamstead division in the election for Hertfordshire County Council said: “It is more likely that the meeting will be somewhere in the Broxbourne area. If these demonstrators want to stand around wasting their time that is up to them. One of them should stand against me in the county council elections – we'd see then who got the most votes. Since I've been elected I've done a lot of positive things for Markyate .”

Last month, BNP leaflets distributed in Flamstead and Markyate provoked a number of complaints from villagers as they appeared to have been sent out with official parish council literature promoting the village hall.

Councillor Deakin says the official literature was distributed by him and other party members in accordance with a vote of the authority's halls committee.

St Albans and Harpenden Review

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