Our comrade in the Republican Communist Network saw the BNP fail to infiltrate an anti-rapist demonstration in Midlothian
Nick Griffin and 5 others i.e. his driver and minders turned up outside Dalkeith Country Park after cancelling their planned rally in Glasgow earlier that day. Their stated aim was to support an intended rally against the presence of, convicted rapist, Robert Greens in our community. It was good that there was little spontaneous support for the BNP despite a lot of media coverage e.g. in The Sun newspaper. There was little visible presence from BNP supporters, one demonstrator counted 17, I thought there were less, but it was hard to tell, all were driven in by car. The BNP website promised 50 Nationalists would turn up and they urged other British nationalists to join them.
The BNP presence was opposed by the majority of the anti-rapist protesters plus about 30-40 local anti-fascists who had been alerted via Midlothian Trades Council. There were groups from Palestinian Solidarity, Unite Against Fascism, current and ex SSP members, trade unionists representing, Unison, EIS, UCATT, and UCU, the local FE college, independent socialists, two members of Socialist Appeal and at least one other Labour Party member. There was no identifiable SNP presence but, we did receive a message from local SNP MSP Colin Beattie supporting Midlothian Trades Council stance, saying there was no place for BNP in Midlothian and that he would have liked to have been there to show his support but had a previous appointment. In the event no councillors, MSPs or our MP were present.
According to one police officer that I spoke to this was an official BNP rally sanctioned by Midlothian Council and they had a duty to be neutral in protecting the right to protest and preventing public disorder. When it was pointed out that they could remove the source of disorder and stop blocking the local traffic they offered a rubber ear. Our investigations so far indicate that this demo was not sanctioned by the council but we need to clarify this via local councillors.
Griffin and co turned up in 3 cars and when they were getting out they were rushed by a couple of protesters, who were promptly attacked by BNP members. (There are photos of this on the Sun website). The police intervened and appeared to also get hit by BNP members. I saw the police make no arrests however, it was later reported that a 35 year old man had been arrested and charged with breach of the peace. The BNP were then protected by a wall of police, there were about 40 police at one point and Griffin was allowed to make a series of speeches to his 5 mates most of which was drowned out by chants of ‘Fascist Scum off our streets’. The police attempted to kettle protestors but this was mainly unsuccessful although they did prevent the protestors from getting at the BNP. This went on for 90mins to 2hours and then the BNP got into their cars and drove away.
Some anti-fascists thought that this would be seen as a victory by the BNP but to be honest if that humiliating event today is all they can muster, then they are struggling. What it did show was that socialists need to discuss how to engage with these community campaigns even when many participants have dodgy ideas. We also need to review how we confront this kind of action by the far right, racists and islamophobes in order to be more effective.
“Rape is simply sex. Women
enjoy sex, so rape cannot be
such a terrible physical
ordeal….(it) is like suggesting
force-feeding a woman
chocolate cake is a heinous
BNP London organiser Nick Ericksen.