Two activists from North London discuss their experience of kettling the BNP's fascist festival in Codnor:
Not having been on a demonstration for many years, I decided to take part in the demonstration in Codnor to help show the strength of feeling against the BNP. What I saw was peaceful - while very vocal! - protest and appropriate policing. I'm pleased that the police allowed the marchers much closer to the BNP site than they did last year though the heavy police presence felt overwhelming much of the time. Having around 1500 of us from all over the country marching showed how many people oppose the BNP. It was inspiring to meet so many different people who believe in fairness and justice for everyone, whatever their background.
But the immediate reason that I actually went on the march was because I was invited and helped to do so by UAF North London. I felt that I would be with a group of trustworthy people who would look out for me in a hectic, crowded and potentially hostile setting and who would not put me at risk through their actions. I'm very pleased that this turned out to be the case and that's the reason why I would be prepared to do it again and to encourage friends to join in.
I went to demonstrate purely against the BNP and the ideas they represent, not as a socialist. It was actually my first demo and found it interesting how big a part the SWP played. The demonstration went well, and seemed highly successful. I was impressed with the general atmosphere of the protest with everyone keen to ensure a peaceful demo.
I strongly believe the UAF and the other organisations there at the weekend to protest were triumphant in harming the fascist festival and I hope this can continue in the future. But I also hope that in the next few years it will no longer be necessary to stage these protests, through education the BNP will hopefully realise the world no longer needs such cruel hatred.
The photo above shows BNP supporters making their way to the Red, White and Blue Festival under police protection. Three people from this group were subsequently arrested and charged with racially aggravated public order offences by the police . You can read more about this here
All photos used in the blog post are copyright Jess Hurd www.reportdigital.co.uk