Anti-fascist 'led hijack of meeting'

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AN ANTI-FASCIST campaigner led a group of 60 people which disrupted a meeting due to be addressed by a follower of Sir Oswald Mosley, the former British fascist leader, a court was told yesterday.

Gerald Gable, the editor of Searchlight, the anti-fascist magazine, gave orders to his 'self-styled anti-fascist and anti-racist' supporters, some of whom used iron bars and lengths of piping to threaten their political opponents, Southwark Crown Court was told.

Stephen Clayton, for the prosecution, said the meeting was arranged by Steven Books, publishers of far-right literature, which advertised the function in its magazines. One of the speakers was to be Jeffrey Ham, who was one of Mosley's Black Shirts in the 1930s.

Mr Clayton said: 'But a group holding diametrically opposite views, self-styled anti-Nazi and anti-racist views, got to hear of the proposed venue and time. And they, it is alleged, decided to hijack that meeting either to prevent it taking place or to seriously disrupt it.'

He said that the first to arrive was Mr Gable, who allegedly showed one of the organisers a press pass and claimed that the people with him were a television crew. He said one of them then used a mobile telephone and minutes later a much larger group of 50 to 60 arrived.

Legitimate members of the audience were threatened with violence, ordered to sit down and spat at, Mr Clayton said. Some were knocked to the ground and kicked. 'It is alleged that the group acted under the control of, and took orders from, the defendant, Mr Gable,' he said.

Two right-wingers were locked in a room in Kensington library, west London, where the meeting was planned and a policeman was attacked, the jury was told.

Mr Clayton said the organiser and another man were placed under guard by people acting on Mr Gable's instructions. Mr Gable, 55, from Romford, Essex, and Gary O'Shea, 37, of no fixed address, who allegedly attacked the policeman, both deny violent disorder on 25 May last year. Mr O'Shea also denies stealing a Union flag. The trial continues.