Protesters Head for White City

BNP leader's BBC invite sparks controversy

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Hundreds of people are expected to gather outside BBC Television Centre in Wood Lane next week in a mass protest against the appearance of a far right-wing party leader on prime-time television.

Nick Griffin of the British National Party (BNP) has been invited to take part in the BBC's Question Time programme next Thursday (October 22).

But the event has caused a storm of controversy with anti-fascist groups planning to make their feelings known. United Against Fascism are calling on people to demonstrate outside the Wood Lane venue and to apply for tickets to attend the Question Time recording.

"The BNP is not a normal, democratic party. It is a Nazi party whose political agenda is to destroy democracy and wipe out ethnic minorities in Britain. By granting Griffin a prime-time platform the BBC is in practice helping to legitimise the BNP and its politics of race hatred," said Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of UAF.

"We unequivocally oppose the BBC's decision to invite the fascist BNP onto Question Time. Giving fascists a prominent platform simply encourages their thugs on the streets to engage in racist, Islamophobic and homophobic violence," added Sabby Dhalu, joint secretary of UAF.

Other panel members due to take part in the programme include the black writer and broadcaster Bonnie Greer, Justice Secretary Jack Straw, and Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman.

The Police say they expect up to 1,000 protesters to turn up in Wood Lane to try and prevent the BNP leader gaining access to the venue.

Meanwhile, Hammersmith and Fulham Council have written to the BBC, demanding that the programme be recorded elsewhere because of potential disruption.

Cllr Greg Smith, Cabinet Member for Crime & Street Scene, said TV Centre was not an appropriate venue for the event: “This is not about politics but about ensuring that our residents, businesses and visitors are protected from any protests as a result of a programme that the BBC has decided to hold.

“We are seriously concerned that a major demonstration – prompted by the guests on the Question Time panel – represents a significant threat to public safety,” he said.

The BBC say they have to treat the BNP as a legitimate political party after it won two seats in the European elections earlier this year.

October 14, 2009