Two Unite Against Fascism demonstrators have been arrested after clashing with the far-right in Grantham at the weekend.
A small number of the extreme right-wing group marched through the Lincolnshire town on Saturday, August 19, with placards reading ‘refugees not welcome’ and even a Confederate flag.
The National Front was challenged by Unite Against Fascism, who heavily outnumbered the group.
However, two from the counter-demonstration were arrested by Lincolnshire Police.
Benjamin Wood, 42, and of Robertson Road, Easton, was charged with using threatening/abusive/insulting words/behaviour with intent to cause fear of or provoke unlawful violence.
He was also charged with assaulting a constable.
Wood is due to appear at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on September 14.
A man in his 20s was arrested for using threatening/abusive/insulting words/behaviour with intent to cause fear of or provoke unlawful violence.
He was released with no further action.
Police criticised by anti-fascists
Lincolnshire Police’s tactics were called into question by some of those on the counter-demonstration.
The Socialist Party Leicester, which was at the march, said that the police were heavy-handed with the anti-fascists.
Tom Barker, in a post on their website, said: “Although the National Front was outnumbered, the counter-demonstration was not large enough to shut down the march altogether.
“This enabled the police, who were extremely heavy-handed with the anti-fascists, to clear a path for the Nazis to march though the town centre.
“The counter protest followed quickly behind, and was greeted approvingly by shoppers and workers – many of whom clapped and cheered as we marched.
“Once the National Front arrived in the market square, the destination for their rally, the skies opened. Fortunately, therefore, no one was there to listen to their hateful bile.”
A United Against Fascism spokesperson added: “Over zealous policing helped to enable a fascist march, not before anti-fascists tried to block the Nazis path.
“Fascists provocatively carried a Confederate flag, a reference to the fascist riot and murder, in Charlottesville. Two anti-fascists were assaulted by fascists, but the fascist attackers were not subject to police action.
“UAF members and anti fascists were not deterred. Our turnout was bigger than the fascists despite the National Front announcing what they hoped to be a private affair, some weeks earlier.”
‘Even losers have a right to protest’
Grantham and Stamford MP Nick Boles has condemned the National Front’s protest in the town, telling them that they are not welcome.
He said: “The racists and xenophobes of the far-right are not welcome in Grantham and do not represent the views of the people of Grantham.
“But this is a free country and even idiots and losers have a legal right to protest.
“I am glad Unite Against Fascism organised a counter-demonstration that better reflects the views of our community.
“I want to thank Lincolnshire Police for policing the march with their customary professionalism.”