Socialist Worker

Protests outside London against Nick Griffin appearing on Question Time

Issue No. 2174

UAF protest outside Glasgow BBC (Pic: Duncan Brown)

UAF protest outside Glasgow BBC (Pic: Duncan Brown)


It was not only in London where people came together to protest at the BBC giving a platform to Nazi BNP leader Nick Griffin.

Across the country, trade unionists, students and activists gathered outside their local BBC studios to show the Corporation that revulsion at their decision was widespread.

Up to 250 anti-fascists held a lively protest and rally outside the BBC Scotland headquarters in Glasgow. A group of around 30 tried to storm the front door but BBC security staff and police foiled their plans.

A strong trade union presence, including UCU, EIS, Unite (T&G Housing), Unison, and Clydebank Trades Council, joined with NUS Scotland, groups of students from local FE colleges and universities, Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees, Stop the War, representatives from local mosques, plus councillors and members of the Labour and Green parties, and the Scottish National Party.

This was an important first step towards the “Don’t Vote Nazi” campaign in the upcoming Glasgow North East by-election, and building a mass counter-protest to the proposed demo by the Nazi-led racist bigots, “Scottish Defence League”, in the next few weeks.

Over 100 protested outside the BBC in Edinburgh with around 20 outside the offices in Dundee. The response from the public to both protests was very supportive with most people agreeing that Griffin should not be given a platform to spout his poison. The local press covered the protests that included students, school kids, trade unionists, pensioners and members of the local mosques.

In Bristol around 90 people gathered to have a lively and vocal protest outside the BBC building there. When campaigners asked to have a local reporter come and speak to them about their views, they were refused the opportunity to speak out against Nazi Nick Griffin.

This enraged the protesters who then ran round the back of the building hoping to find an alternative entrance.

Jaz, a firefighter who was on the protest told Socialist Worker, “We ended up in the car park at the back of the building, blockaded by two lines of police. Although we didn’t get in to the building I think we made our point!”

The majority on the march were students, while local trade unions were well represented with banners from Unison, NUT, PCS and Unite unions as well as workers from other sectors.

Ireland also saw protests—over 100 in Belfast at the BBC at some 40 anti-fascists gathered in Derry.


Plymouth

Up to 100 people anti fascists gathered outside the BBC studio in Seymour Road, Plymouth, on Thursday night, to protest against Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time.

The noisy rally chanted “BBC, shame on you” as they delivered a letter from Plymouth Unite against Fascism that condemned the broadcast. The letter stated that producers and directors were out of touch with lives of Black, Asian, and particularly Muslim people who faced abuse and violence from race hate, and that it was a conceit of the chattering classes that freedom of speech was the most important value here.

Second World War veteran Paddy Ryan, from Devon Pensioners’ Forum, said working people had fought the Nazis during the war, and were appalled to see them on their TV screens.

Young people, students and Palestine Solidarity Campaign supporters cheered as Lesley Crawford, from Plymouth Unite Against Fascism (UAF) remarked that the BBC had refused to broadcast a humanitarian appeal for the Palestinians in Gaza earlier this year, but was now quite prepared to broadcast Griffin’s views.

Jeremy Guise, assistant secretary of Plymouth TUC pledged, “We will ensure that the BNP is always challenged in our city, show that they are not part of our community and that they not welcome here.”

The BBC made a big mistake inviting Griffin onto Question Time.

Tensions rose as the protest finished and a small group of hooded men in fatigues looked on from a distance and gave Nazi salutes. Griffin may pretend not to be a Nazi, but his followers still have some difficulty holding the mask in place.

Our confident gathering soon shouted them down with “Nazi scum off our streets” and saw them off.

Demonstrations also took place in Leeds, Nottingham and Liverpool.


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