Sam reports on the protest in Portsmouth that shows UKIP and Farage can’t expect an easy ride on their speaking tour over the next few weeks.
After crashing his bus into Portsmouth and Southsea train station and hinting at standing in a potential Portsmouth South by-election, Nigel Farage ended his day by the sea by speaking at a UKIP meeting held in the Guildhall. His presence was greeted by a 60-strong protest who chanted “UKIP go home! Migrants are welcome here!” and “You’re BNP in blazers” at UKIP members and councillors.
Alongside local people, a number of trade unionists, Green Party and Labour members joined the protest. It was also fantastic to see a significant student contingent come and bring a real energy to opposing Farage.
Attendees at the UKIP meeting, on the other hand, were mainly white, middle class and overwhelmingly from rural Hampshire.
The protest was markedly more rowdy than recent demos in Portsmouth, and its presence was certainly noticed with UKIP officials looking out from windows in the upper floors of the Guildhall.
Farage wisely chose to enter the venue over 2 hours before the meeting was due to start, otherwise he would certainly have had trouble making the door.
Lisa Fletcher, Chair of Portsmouth UNITE Community joined the demo and attended the meeting. She was forcibly removed from the meeting after heckling Farage’s speech.
Lisa heckling Farage’s speech:
An interview with Lisa:
Towards the end of the protest, a group of 9 fascists attempted to counter the demo. They had pledged to come defend Farage online earlier in the week. The demo turned and marched towards forcing them to quickly bolt back to the Wetherspoons pub they (and Farage) had been drinking in earlier. Passers-by also joined in confronting the Nazis.
With all the media hype surrounding UKIP and Farage in the local press, this demo showed that there are those in Portsmouth who oppose their cancerous politics.
A version of this report originally appeared on the Portsmouth Socialist Network site