Socialist Worker

Anti-racists disrupt Ukip's London rally

by Annette Mackin
Published Thu 8 May 2014
Issue No. 2402

Anti-racist protesters disrupted Ukips London rally

Anti-racist protesters disrupted Ukip's London rally (Pic: Guy Smallman)


A Ukip rally in London turned into chaos on Wednesday evening as speeches attacking migrants were disrupted by anti-racist protesters.

A dozen demonstrators were dragged out of the meeting in Westminster after heckling Ukip speakers demanding a crackdown on migrants.

Fran Manning, a student at Kingston university, was one of many who challenged the racists.

She told Socialist Worker, "We stood up and chanted, ‘Unemployment and inflation are not caused by immigration,’ after one Ukip speaker called for tougher border controls.

“They must learn that what they say about migrants is not going unchallenged.”

The meeting was supposed to be a key event for Ukip leader Nigel Farage – coming after a string of recent embarrassments, including him being egged and forced to cancel appearances.

But instead of a triumph, Farage was forced to stay out of his rally until the closing minutes, and even then keep his appearance brief.

The venue was surrounded by security guards who ejected protesters, including one disabled woman.

As well as the protests inside the hall, some 150 people demonstrated outside, many with Stand up to Ukip placards.

The mostly white, middle to upper class attendees were greeted with chants of "Immigrants are welcome here," and were visibly shaken by the noisy protest.

Ukip MEP candidate Steven Woolfe apologised to the audience for having to "run the gauntlet" on the way in.

Stung by accusations of racism, Farage sat all Ukip’s black and Asian members in the front two rows and had them join him on stage for a final photo opportunity.

Among them was Winston Mckenzie. Winston has been a member of every major political party in Britain – and very many minor ones too. He admitted that Farage was reluctant to let him join in case he caused the party embarrassment – but his party boss clearly needs the numbers.

Protesters mocked Ukip’s effort to appear “multicultural”.

“The fact they had to present their black members in this way shows Ukip are very worried,” said Fran.

Dean Harris was thrown out for disrupting Steven Woolfe's speech after the candidate favourably compared Ukip to the Chartists. Dean said, "I couldn't stand it. I got up and shouted 'Ukip is a bosses’ party'.

"Ukip is not a joke. Farage is not a bumbling buffoon. He is a cynical class warrior who knows what he is doing."

This Saturday will see a day of action against Ukip around the country.

Fran said, "When we leaflet against Ukip we get massive support.

"People are pleased that someone is taking a stand against racism."

For Stand up to Ukip materials go to standuptoukip.org

Article information

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Thu 8 May 2014, 15:56 BST
Issue No. 2402
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