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1975: National Front rallies against Europe

Members of an extreme right-wing UK party, flanked by 2,000 police officers, have marched through north London in protest against integration with Europe.

Beating drums and chanting "we're going to get the reds", National Front members marched through Islington waving placards.

Extra police were drafted in amid fears violence may flare as on previous National Front demonstrations.

The march, held in protest of the EEC, drew about 400 National Front supporters.

There were fears of a counter-demonstration against the far-right protesters but there were no violent outbursts.

Police clamp-down

But about 300 protesters gathered opposite Islington Town Hall shouting at the main march - they stood where the Labour Council had refused to allow the National Front to hold a rally.

They were cordoned off from the main march by police but could be seen waving banners and shouting abuse at the National Front demonstrators.

Police led the National Front march to Exmouth Market, a mile away, to allow the rally to take place in a deserted street.

No members of the public were allowed access to the rally.

This blanket-covering by the police has become a successful strategy in curbing violence and troubles during marches.

Police clamped down after the Red Lion Square riot last June at Holborn when the National Front was protesting against the government's plans for immigrants, and violence flared as other protestors demonstrated against the rally.

One demonstrator died, the first death at a demonstration in 55 years, and many policemen and protesters were injured.

Police horses were used to clear a way through and a large number of arrests were made.

In Context
The National Front movement was at its most vocal and active in the 1970s and many more demonstrations followed.

It fielded hundreds of candidates at the 1979 General Election but failed to translate its support into votes.

In-fighting began to cripple the movement and a splinter group - the British National Party - was formed.

The BNP has grown steadily and in the 2001 General Election it won more votes than expected.

For the first time the party had saved its deposit in an election in the north of England.

It sent shock waves through the country that it signalled the far right movement was gaining supporters despite the country's increasing multi-culturism.


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