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UK Politics

Police let mob run wild, says BNP leader

BNP leader Nick Griffin urged the police to "get a grip" of protesters who forced the party's MEPs to abandon their first joint press conference yesterday.

The British National Party leader spoke out after being besieged by around 40 protesters when he held a press conference in a Manchester pub today.

Mr Griffin, who along with Andrew Brons was elected as an MEP, said: "There wasn't a huge police presence yesterday. The police let the mob run wild.

"I think it's very sad that a hostile mob which is partly paid for by taxpayers and backed by Labour and the Conservatives is allowed to get away with mob violence on the streets of Britain in 2009.

"I've got to go and visit constituents in places like Preston and Andrew Brons has to go to places like Bradford. The police need to get a grip on these people and stop them throwing eggs and bricks.

"Like us or not we are a democratic party elected by people who have specific concerns they think we will address properly."

Mr Griffin was pelted with eggs on College Green in Westminster yesterday after being targeted by protesters.

Today he posed for photographers in the bar of the Ace of Diamonds pub with a box of eggs and sat on a bar stool reading the Daily Star, whose front page read "The Yolk's on You".

Mr Griffin said: "I want to get away from the publicity. It's been fun while it's lasted."

He said he wanted to represent constituents "regardless of their creed or colour" but added: "I would expect most ethnic minorities would go to the Labour Party, as it's the party for them."

Mr Griffin said the BNP was the persecuted party after Manchester City Council refused to allow them to hold a press conference in the town hall where he learned of his election to the European Parliament on Sunday night.

He said: "The mob outside are allowed to meet in Manchester Town Hall to plot violence against the BNP... If that's not persecution, pray tell me what is."

There was a heavy police presence and BNP security presence outside the BNP-supportive pub on Oldham Road, and reporters faced several demands for identification before being allowed inside.

Several newspapers, including the Manchester Evening News and The Sun, were banned from attending "because of the lies they have printed", Mr Griffin said.

Protesters chanted outside the pub and played Bob Marley songs while inside Mr Griffin sipped a half of bitter and spoke to the media.