Ukip carnival in Croydon descends into chaos – and a Farage no show – as party continues to fight racism accusations

Nigel Farage fails to turn up to his own party - just two days before European elections

A “carnival” staged by Ukip in Croydon this afternoon descended into chaos after clashes between protesters and party supporters - leading Nigel Farage to decide against turning up at all.

The event had included a steel band and was party sources initially said it would be a “celebration of the ethnically diverse backgrounds” of the party’s candidates in the south London borough.

But things quickly got out of hand after the band, Endurance Steel, walked out amid reports that they had not been told they would be playing for Ukip.

And after arguments broke out between the party's candidates and demonstrators waving placards calling Nigel Farage “racist scum”, the former boxer and prospective MEP Winston McKenzie said his the leader had decided against attending due to “security concerns”.

The so-called street party was marked throughout by peaceful but noisy clashes among scrums of people outside the Whitgift shopping centre, watched over by police and surrounded by a large pack of reporters awaiting Mr Farage's arrival.

Ukip brought an electronic advertising van to act as a centrepiece for the event, which drew around 100 suporters. But the event quickly attracted ridicule on Twitter, commenting under the hashtag #ukipcarnival.

Mr McKenzie addressed the crowd with a megaphone, saying: “I want to thank all of the patriotic people in this country who are fed up, let down by the situation.

“I'm sick to death of hearing the same rhetoric come from the same stale political parties.

“It's time people woke up and realised this country is being disenfranchised.”

The rally broke up shortly after it was announced that Mr Farage would not be coming, and one supporter said he was disappointed not to be able to meet the leader.

The eventful party came after the Ukip leader was branded “a racist” by Labour MP David Lammy for comments he made about living next-door to Romanians.

David Cameron said Ukip had “condemned themselves during this campaign with a succession of pretty unpleasant remarks”, and described Mr Farage’s answers during a car-crash LBC interview on Friday as “appalling”.

Tommy Tomescu, a Romanian dentist who is standing in the European elections on Thursday as president of the Europeans Party, called for the Ukip leader to be prosecuted for incitement to racial hatred.

He told the BBC’s Daily Politics programme: “We demand the Crown Prosecution to go and analyse the case against Nigel Farage for incitement to hate.

“There are attacks which have happened against Romanians, Poles, Bulgarians, Slovakians and other eastern Europeans which have coincided with the increasing rhetoric and campaign of hate portrayed by the Ukip leader and sometimes by Conservatives who have joined him, or Labour, which apologises for the fact that they allowed in so many eastern Europeans.

Watch: The steel band and 'street party' in Croydon today

“I think [Mr Farage] should be prosecuted, clearly. He doesn't have to be above the law, just because the other parties are afraid that they will lose votes.”

Yesterday an “open letter” from Mr Farage appeared as a full-page advert in the Daily Telegraph, in which he insisted that Ukip is “not a racist party”, before going on to quote a series of crime figures about Romanians.

But in a Newsnight interview last night, Mr Farage admitted that it had been wrong to say Romanian gangs were responsible for 7 per cent of all crime in the EU.

“It was simplified,” he said of the figure. “It was criminal networks, not crime.”

He also said he regretted using the words “you know what the difference is” at LBC radio when asked about the distinction between Germans or Romanians living next door.

“That gave people the impression that I was saying, 'A nod a wink, we don't really like Romanians'. I regret doing that but I do absolutely insist we must have a proper debate about this,” he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'