The BNPs protest outside the Lunar House UK Border Agency HQ turned out to be small in numbers, pathetic in outlook and actually quite boring. For a party that previously had an elected London Assembly member and 12 councillors, the 27 strong demonstration was pitiful. Considerably less than the shambolic turnout by (EDL splinter group) the EVF a few weeks earlier at the same location.
This follows on from the previous humiliation of the BNP in London in June. Then their attempt at marching to the cenotaph was stopped by hundreds of anti fascists blocking the road. Despite over 350 anti fascists being bailed away from going anywhere near the BNP following mass arrests in Westminster and more recently in Tower Hamlets, the fascists were still outnumbered by over 3-1 by the UAF.
After their arrival, under heavy Police police protection, the BNP spent the next two hours sitting around looking bored as their Italian mayoral candidate Carlos Cortiglia cured everyone’s insomnia with a succession of rambling speeches and barking mad conspiracy theories. According to Carlos, the UNITE trade union is campaigning to scrap the age of consent at the behest of the Labour Party which is itself a front for an enormous paedophile ring or something. The strange reality occupied by the BNP is even more paranoid and delusional than that of the EDL.
The BNP youth wing (if it still exists) was nowhere to be seen with half the demo made up of mostly male, middle-aged oddballs. The other half looking like a racist remake of Last of the Summer Wine.
The only nazis in attendance who were under 45 seemed to be Polish and supporters of the openly fascist National Revival of Poland party (NOP). Many antifascists were left wondering if the Eastern Europeans were aware of the recent comparisons that the BNP made between Polish immigrant workers and monkeys? Or indeed the Griffin family’s history of Pole-baiting which goes back to the 1940s?
As the protest dragged on the nazis looked increasingly bored and demoralised. Back in the 90s the Croydon BNP branch was one the biggest and most active in the country. On Saturday their presence was laughable with local black and Asian residents wandering past their demo looking neither impressed nor intimidated.
The only incidents that lit up the dullness of the occasion was a banner drop by South London Antifascists and a brief intervention by two extremely drunk EDL supporters who attempted to challenge the entire UAF demo to a fight. They were quickly bundled into a subway by the police before their alcohol-induced desire for martyrdom could be fulfilled.
After what seemed like a tedious eternity of playing megaphone tennis with the UAF, the BNP were eventually escorted back to East Croydon at around 3pm.
Photos by Guy Smallman