By Blaise Tapp | Monday, 26 April 2004 Source: manchesteronline.co.uk
THERE were ugly scenes at a Greater Manchester hotel as hundreds of protesters pelted the car of French National Front leader Jean Marie Le Pen as he attended a press conference in support of the British National Party.
Eggs, rocks and waste bins hit the car as Le Pen was driven away from a news conference at the Cresta Court Hotel, in Altrincham.
About 50 police officers were palongside security guards hired by the BNP but there were no arrests.
Speaking through an interpreter, Le Pen dismissed the protest and said: "It is a clear demonstration of the left-hand side of the political system.
"I have been to places like Indonesia and Malaysia and I have been able to walk freely - why can't I do the same in England?"
Le Pen, 75, made the visit to support the BNP's forthcoming European election campaign and said: "I hope many people from the BNP will be elected and we will create a very strong nationalist movement within the European Parliament."
BNP leader Nick Griffin claimed his party was likely to gain at least one European seat in the north west.
He clarified his party's position on immigration, stating that all asylum seekers who passed through at least one other country to get to Britain would be expelled.
He also said ethnic minorities, described as "long-term legal visitors" could stay in the country as long as they "obey our ways".
He said an "all-black Africa" and an "all-white Europe" was an unachievable Utopia and the real issue was that countries maintained their own identities within Europe.
Hotel management said they knew nothing beforehand about the press conference and manager Paul Hindley said he would contact the BNP to complain about being misled.
"We are not happy about it," he said. "If we had known what it was about, we would not have let it happen."