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.

peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
Highs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
New Articles
i100... with this review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam