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Wednesday, 11 July, 2001, 16:27 GMT 17:27 UK
Welsh BNP festival 'unwelcome'
Martin Jones said the BNP prompted Bradford violence
Plans by the British National Party to hold a festival in mid Wales next month have been criticised by Welsh First Minister Rhodri Morgan.

The BNP has switched the 'Red, White and Blue 2001' rally from a Oldham to an undisclosed location in Welshpool, Powys.

It will be like a Welsh Eisteddfod, encouraging young people to keep our culture

BNP chairman Nick Griffin

"It will be like a Welsh Eisteddfod, encouraging young people to keep hold of our culture," said BNP Chairman Nick Griffin.

But Mr Morgan said the event - planned for 11 and 12 August for around 500 people - will not be welcome.

"The BNP is alien to everything we stand for in Wales," he said.

"Their philosophy is an entirely self-destructive one and moves in ever-decreasing circles. The party and their beliefs are not welcome in Wales and no credence should be attached to them."

Clwyd South MP Martin Jones has called on the police to find the exact location because of concerns over a repetition of recent racial violence in the north of England.

The BNP has claimed that the rally will be both a political gathering and a family event aimed at encouraging youngsters to hold on to their British heritage.

Mr Griffin, who lives in the Welshpool area, said the Saturday will be used for political "seminars," while the Sunday will include entertainment, food and face-painting.

New recruits

Party members will be hosting fund-raising events and encouraging new recruits throughout the weekend.

The far-right party has not disclosed the precise location of the event, but has said members can book bed and breakfast accommodation from an address in Welshpool.

But Martin Jones MP accused the party of deceiving the authorities and called on the police to seek out the festival site.

first minister Rhodri Morgan
Rhodri Morgan said the BNP was "alien" to Wales
He has written to Dyfed Powys Police, Powys Council and Home Secretary David Blunkett and called on local farmers to ensure they do not unwittingly play host to the event.

"The people of Wales and the police have a right to know exactly where the BNP intend to hold this rally," he said.

"The prospect of this party's followers just turning up in some unsuspecting town or village is simply unacceptable, particularly In light of recent events in the north of England.

Repetition of violence

"Given the recent disturbances in Oldham, Burnley and Bradford as a direct result of agitation by the BNP and other right-wing groups, I am concerned about public order issues relating to this event in order to avoid similar scenes being replicated in mid Wales."

nick griffin
The BNP chairman said the event was a family festival
After racially-motivated riots broke out on streets in the north of England over recent weeks, the Home Secretary let West Yorkshire Police all marches in Bradford by the National Front and counter-rallies for three months.

BNP chairman Nick Griffin said the exact venue would not be announced until nearer to the date to avoid disruption by "politically correct journalists and fascist Labour MPs trying to upset the neighbours.

"It is a family weekend with a political element to give people the chance to have a weekend with like-minded people without political correctness being rammed down their throats."

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See also:

08 Jul 01 | UK
Summer of racial violence
29 Jun 01 | UK Politics
National Front targets Oldham
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