Socialist Worker

Protecting the Nazis

Issue No. 2149

Police horses charge through demonstrators at Lewisham in 1977

Police horses charge through demonstrators at Lewisham in 1977

The police also have a long history of protecting Nazis while attacking anti-Nazi demonstrators – from Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts in the 1930s to the National Front in Lewisham in 1977. It continues to this day.

In 1993 some 60,000 anti-fascist campaigners took to the streets of Welling, south east London, to march on the headquarters of the British National Party (BNP).

The police refused the demonstration the right to march past the fascists’ headquarters.

Police blocked the road to the headquarters and the agreed march route. As protesters began a sit-down in the road, the riot police, armed with batons, waded in.

The demonstrators were trapped and police horses charged the crowd.


The police and the media tried to blame demonstrators for the violence – but it was the police who had no intention of allowing the march to pass off peacefully.

Photos from the day show police happily chatting with Nazis at the door of the BNP headquarters.

A primary school teacher from east London said, “I’ve never been so frightened. We were squashed against a wall.

“The police charged with batons and the wall collapsed. The demonstration was so brilliant until the police attacked it.

“They were just protecting the Nazis.”

A gay rights protester added, “Despite what the police did I would go on another demo. I think it’s vital to stand up and be counted.”

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