Letter: Why violence marred the march against the BNP

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is unfair to allege, as Alex Renton does in his report on Saturday's disturbances at the Unity/ANL march in Welling, that stewards 'had not actively tried to persuade marchers to keep to the official route'.

Witnesses will confirm that the stewards were at great pains to keep the march moving on a route imposed by police, in the face of strong vocal opposition from some sections of the crowd, and despite an impasse created by that rerouting. The result was a stage set for conflict, with the attentions of the media contributing to a heavily charged atmosphere.

In fact the stewards, caught between the over-enthusiastic marchers and somewhat precipitous police action, performed a thankless task with admirable determination.

That the message of the protest was lost in the hail of missiles thrown by a tiny minority of idiotic activists should not be attributed to the stalwart and principled actions of its organisers.

Yours faithfully,

PHILIP HOARE

London, N1

18 October

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