Anti-BNP Protests outside BBC Television Centre: Three People Arrested

Protesters against BNP (British National Party) broke into BBC Television Centre tonight ahead of Nick Griffin’s controversial appearance on Question Time.

Around 30 people rushed through the main gates of the BBC’s broadcasting headquarters in West London. Ten were dragged out of the car park by police officers but at least 20 more made it inside the building where the leader of the British National Party will take part in the political panel show tonight.

The protests come as the Cabinet are divided over Mr Griffin’s appearance alongside Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary. Peter Hain, the Welsh Secretary, made a last-ditch attempt to stymie BNP participation while The Times understands that Ben Bradshaw, the Culture Secretary, was also against the planned broadcast.

As several hundred protesters blocked the road outside Television Centre, delaying his arrival, Mr Griffin criticised the security operation, Times Online reports.

It was also reported, the number of protesters gathered outside the BBC building has been growing as the recording of the Thursday night political discussion show approaches.

Protesters were removed from TV centre by police

At about 1630 BST security guards opened a gate to let a car into the front car park when about 25 people rushed forward and jumped over the barriers, one of which broke, and ran towards the building.

A few minutes later the individuals were seen being led, dragged or carried back outside.

The Metropolitan Police say three people have been arrested, and estimate there are about 500 people taking part in the demonstration, BBC News reports.

Meanwhile, the BBC insists it has the duty to hold all democratically-elected political parties up to scrutiny, although Welsh Secretary Hain, a veteran anti-apartheid campaigner, has sharply criticised it.

"Once you treat them (the BNP) as equal amongst the others, they gain ground. We saw that in Nazi Germany," he told ITV television. Ten lawmakers have so far signed a parliamentary motion opposing Griffin's appearance.

Protesters outside the studios also criticised the BBC for letting Griffin on the show.

Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary of Unite Against Fascism (UAF), said: "I don't believe the BNP are going to be taken apart in the debate.

"What they are going to get is a massive hustings for their fascist and racist politics and the price for that will be an increase in the number of racist attacks," AFP reports.

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