300 protesters greet Farage's return to Edinburgh

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Video from the anti-UKIP protest on Friday
Image: Brian McNeil.

Roughly 300 protesters turned up yesterday for the return of Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party, to Edinburgh after last year's disastrous attempt at a press conference in a pub at the foot of The Canongate. Unseen by protesters or public, Farage is believed to have left the venue around 7:30pm.

Farage's last visit saw protesters leaving him barracked in the bar by police, with several taxis refusing to take the party leader and Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South East England to the airport.

Protest against UKIP outside the Edinburgh Corn Exchange
Image: Brian McNeil.

Given the hostile reception on his last visit, far-right group Britain First garnered publicity earlier in the week with an apparent offer of "armoured vehicles" for Farage's visit. However, no support from ex-BNP councillor Paul Golding's political party, or the offered armoured vehicles, were in-evidence.

Despite attempts to keep the location secret, the Radical Independence Campaign began calling for protesters to turn up on Friday, at the city's Corn Exchange, nearly a week before the event. Farage was already believed to be inside the building when Wikinews arrived shortly after 4:30pm. At that time, five satellite trucks were present and New Market Road, running past the venue, was still open to traffic.

Protesters against UKIP in Edinburgh yesterday.
Image: Brian McNeil.
An elderly, and near-solitary, UKIP supporter waving the Scottish Flag
Image: Brian McNeil.
Protesters blocking the entrance to the Corn Exchange
Image: Brian McNeil.
Police Scotland had a high-visibility presence at the protest
Image: Brian McNeil.
The anti-UKIP protest was, largely, good-natured
Image: Brian McNeil.
Protesters blocking the entrance to the Corn Exchange
Image: Brian McNeil.
Perhaps unaware of the irony in his wardrobe choice, one of the few visible UKIP supporters sported a baseball cap advertising Croatia, who joined the EU less than a year ago
Image: Brian McNeil.
One protester turned up in the V mask favoured by Anonymous
Image: Brian McNeil.
Protesters blocking the entrance to the Corn Exchange
Image: Brian McNeil.
One unlucky couple discovered they'd picked the same date, and venue, for their wedding celebration
Image: Brian McNeil.
UKIP supporters outside the Corn Exchange were significantly outnumbered by press and photographers
Image: Brian McNeil.
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Protesters blocking the entrance to the Corn Exchange
Image: Brian McNeil.
A significant number of banners and placards on-display were home-made
Image: Brian McNeil.
Socialist Worker placards accused UKIP of spreading racist lies
Image: Brian McNeil.
UKIP supporters outside the Corn Exchange were significantly outnumbered by press and photographers
Image: Brian McNeil.
UKIP's perceived racism was one of the targets of banners and placards
Image: Brian McNeil.
One protester brought a patchwork quilt, embroidered with "Scotland against racist fascist bigots"
Image: Brian McNeil.
Amongst those keeping an eve on events, local Labour councillor Nick Gardner (centre-left)
Image: Brian McNeil.
One of five satellite trucks at the event (foreground)
Image: Brian McNeil.
Several speakers addressed the crowd from a 'scrum' immediately in-front of the building
Image: Brian McNeil.

Protesters began arriving en-masse closer to 5:30pm, with numbers peaking around an hour later. Police vans were moved to block the road; although, traffic to the venue was still being permitted for a wedding party with the misfortune to pick the same date as Farage's only visit to Scotland during the current European Parliament election campaign.

Several speakers addressed the crowd protesting against UKIP being in Scotland, with the actual number of UKIP attendees inside, to hear Farage speak, estimated at around 50. One speaker, a schoolteacher, challenged the mainstream media's acceptance of UKIP's assertion the party is not racist, stating her primary school pupils were more-capable of identifying racism and would be pointing its presence out within UKIP were they present.

Although loud, the protest passed peacefully. Chants directed at UKIP included "Whose streets? Our streets! Whose city? Our city!", "Say it loud, say it clear: Refugees are welcome here!" Other taunts called UKIP "scum", urged people to "smash the SDL" (Scottish Defence League), and clearly labelled UKIP and its supporters as racist.


Sources

Wikinews
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