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Bid to halt BNP festival

Chris Mallett | Monday, 2 July 2007 Source: Derbyshire Evening Telegraph

A Campaign has been launched in a Derbyshire village to stop a British National Party festival which is expected to attract thousands of the group's supporters.

RWB, or Red, White and Blue, is scheduled to take place on the weekend of August 4 and 5 in Denby.

But people living near the Codnor Denby Lane site fear the event could cause havoc.

John Lumsden, who lives opposite one of the fields to be used by festival-goers, is involved in a petition to get it cancelled.

He said: "Everyone I have spoken to in the area, not just Denby, but Codnor as well, is against it.

"I've been told they are expecting up to 10,000 people to turn up, but the village simply can't cope with that number of people.

"For a start, where will everybody park? We have enough trouble with people parking on the road as it is.

"There is also talk of them having a campsite. That will be like having gypsy encampment nearby - there will be rubbish everywhere."

A 39-year-old mother, who lives in the same road, said she feared RWB could bring violence to the area.

The woman, who did not want to be named, said: "I will be signing the petition.

"I want it cancelled, not just because it's the BNP, but because of the people who dislike the group enough to turn up and cause trouble."

RWB is an annual event, which had, for the past four years, been held in Lancashire.

This year, it is scheduled to be held on 20 acres of land belonging Heanor and Loscoe parish councillor Alan Warner.

Mr Warner defected to the BNP from the Conservative Party after being an Amber Valley borough councillor from 2002 to 2004. He was the first BNP candidate to take a seat in Derbyshire when he was appointed to Denby Parish Council after an uncontested election earlier this year.

He said the festival would be entirely self-contained, with 60 BNP security guards to prevent people from getting too drunk or taking drugs.

Mr Warner said: "Previous events have been attended by 3,000 people but it might not be that many this time. There will be 30 toilets on the site and if people cause trouble I have told the organisers that I will call the police and they won't be able to hold the festival here again.

"I'm surprised at the reaction of people in the area. They are acting like thousands of Nazis are about descend on them. The BNP are not Nazis."

The BNP's national press officer, Dr Phil Edwards, said that the festival was held as "a celebration of the culture of white Europeans".

He said: "Because the BNP are so disliked we have to be squeaky clean with events like this or the media will come down on us like a ton of bricks."

Derbyshire police said the officer responsible for policing the event was not available to comment.

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