Anti-racist protest meets BNP leadership in Belfast

On the 1st and 2nd of November 2011 the Socialist Party along with several other groups held 2 days of demonstrations outside the industrial tribunal of ex BNP employee Marion Thomas

, protesting against the presence in Belfast of the BNP and making our voices heard by the several key members of the BNP who were attending.

 

The industrial tribunal was called after Mrs Thomas, now a Britain First(another far-right group) volunteer, accused her former employers of unfair dismissal. This was brought after Mrs Thomas reported a mistake by Nick Griffin’s Son in law, Angus Matthys, which cost the party a large amount of money. Mrs Thomas has also made several other allegations including being held against her will in a van by party members, on the same day she received a payment of £7,500 in a car park from the BNP to go to her old boss of which Clive Jefferson, BNP national elections officer, pocketed £200 for the inconvience of having to be there and also that she was made to stamp invoices to suppliers as paid when they were not.

On the first day of the protest approximately 40 protesters showed up to voice their anger at the BNP’s presence here. Patrick Harrington, the BNP’s legal advisor, was first to arrive at Killymead House. On seeing one protester flying an International Brigades flag Harrington showed his true colours in referring to these brave volunteers who gave everything in the fight against Fascism, by saying “The International Brigades was just a bunch of dead old men who lost a war”. Approximately 45 minutes later several other BNP members, including Angus Matthys, Ian Kitchen and Adam Walker, appeared to calls of “Nazi scum”. There was no confrontation this time though as they put their heads down and disappeared into the building as quickly as they could.  After several more minutes of making our voices heard we decided that we would then meet up the next morning to make our opinions heard once again.

On day 2 of the protest around 60 people gathered this time, now armed with banners, flags and placards, showing everyone’s anger at the presence of this racist organisation in our city. Although the weather was a lot worse than on the previous day the spirits of the demonstrators was high and everyone was up for the fight. About an hour after we arrived the BNP showed their faces and again they walked into the building to jeers and calls of “Nazi scum” These calls continued for several minutes, dying down every so often but becoming louder and louder whenever someone would show their face, usually at a window, trying to take photographs to no doubt go up on some racist site somewhere. After things settled down and we had found out that this was indeed the last day of the tribunal everyone headed off.

Overall it was a good turnout over both days of the protest. Everyone was in high spirits, willing to brave the cold to stand up for their beliefs and show an active line of resistance against the Fascist BNP. On both days we had good coverage from the press who will hopefully take our message further into the population and build a stronger movement in the fight against racism.

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The BNP has recently made an electoral breakthrough by winning two seats in the recent European elections in England. In recent years the BNP have relied on using far-right populism, and have tried to disguise their fascist past. It would be a mistake to confuse the protest vote the BNP are receiving (as a result of the lack of a genuine mass socialist alternative) with a shift in support for fascism. But it would also be a mistake not to recognise the BNP have been strengthened by these electoral victories.