Tommy Ewing in Liverpool reports on how local people stood up to the BNP
The British National Party tried demonstrating last night (Thursday) outside Liverpool Arts Centre where this week's BBC Question Time was being recorded.
The Nazis were upset that their leader Nick Griffin, who is an MEP for the North West region, had not been invited to participate in the programme. But they were heavily outnumbered by 150 anti-fascists who turned out to oppose them.
There was a real mixture of people on the anti-fascist demonstration—black and white, young and old. There were banners from Unite Against Fascism (UAF), Love Music Hate Racism, the PCS union and many others.
The police tried to keep the anti-fascists in their 'designated area'. But some of us had approached from a different direction and ended up right next to the Nazis (shudder). We started heckling the BNP, and soon the rest of the anti-fascist demo joined us.
At one point anti-fascists even managed to stop the BNP from buying ice cream, chanting 'No ice cream for Nazis!' at a nearby van. The BNP looked really depressed. Eventually they folded up their banners and sheepishly scuttled off.
An earlier incident involved BNP heavies trying to set up stall in a skateboard park. But the skateboarders turned on them and told them, 'We don't want you Nazis here.' The police had to escorted the BNP away.
It was noticeable throughout the demo that we spent most of our time laughing at the Nazis. The humour of local people heckling them was absolutely fantastic. I know the BNP are no joke—but it was uplifting to see them downbeat, demoralised and defeated.
The English Defence League had a bad day yesterday too. Their leader Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Lennon) was convicted at Preston magistrates court of assault. He will be sentenced on 3 November.
Later that evening Liverpool EDL were desperately trying to drum up support for their friends in the BNP. 'Numbers needed ASAP in town, our lot extremely outnumbered,' read one forlorn Facebook message.
'Urgent: 6 EDL against 300 UAF in Liverpool, Jamaica Street. If you can get there please do so,' read another. They fell silent soon after that.