`The BNP ran scared this afternoon’ Councillor Balkind.

At the last minute, Salford BNP cancelled its public meeting at the city’s garbage depot, as anti-fascist protesters turned up to oppose what UNISON’s Steven North called “hate and division in our city”.

Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart, was also present at the demonstration to hear Councillor Howard Balkind add that “the BNP ran scared this afternoon”.

 Salford BNP protest

Just a few hours before it was due to take place, the BNP dramatically cancelled its public meeting at the city’s garbage depot on Eccles New Road.

Under election rules the fascist party, which is standing a candidate in the local Weaste and Seedley by-election, is entitled to hold such a meeting within a public building. But the Salford Star understands that when it became clear that the public was also entitled to attend, the BNP cancelled, fearing disruption by protesters.

Even though the meeting was called off, a lively demonstration outside the entrance to Turnpike House went ahead to show, as one of the placards stated, that `Salford Says No To The BNP’.

Speaking to protesters – who included council workers, people from the community, activists from Greater Manchester Unite Against Fascism, Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart and a few of the city’s councillors – Steven North, branch secretary of Salford City UNISON, read out a statement he was going to tell the BNP had the meeting gone ahead…

“This is our workplace and you, the BNP, are not welcome in it. Every day in this building, people from different backgrounds come together and work together to provide services for the people of Salford. We do not discriminate against each other, and we do not discriminate as to who we provide these services for… You, the BNP, are attempting to sow hate and division in our workplace and our city and we oppose you doing that.

“Your leader, Nick Griffin, parades around Europe on tax payers’ money. He does not speak for us when he calls Nelson Mandela an `old terrorist’. He does not speak for us when he denies the Holocaust. When members of your party excuse rape you do not speak for us. You, the BNP, are not welcome in Salford.

“You have never opposed attacks on services of this city that people need. You have never stood with the people of Salford in defence of our needs. All you have done is what you have done everywhere else – you have sought to profit from poverty and disenfranchisement. You have created problems in communities and then run away. That is why you are a spent force in politics.

“That is why we stand here today and say `You are not welcome’. We are proud of our city, we are proud of our diverse workforce and we will always stand together to make sure that people like you can never disrupt or break that.”

Howard Balkind, councillor for Swinton South, added that while the BNP was entitled to hold a public meeting under election rules, Salford people were also entitled to hold a peaceful protest… “Following on from what happened in the 2nd World War the last thing we want is the establishment of fascism in Salford…

“I’m sorry that we haven’t been able to enliven your evening with the BNP being here because I’m sure they ran scared this afternoon” he added “I believe they are elsewhere in the city but we know it’s not within one of our public buildings.”

With the BNP cancelling its meeting so late in the day, police, security stewards and an election officer were present, incurring a cost to cash strapped Salford Council, money which could have been spent helping to maintain vital services in the city.

 From The Salford Star . 14.06.13


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