Zimbabwe man flees nazi racist graffiti

Taz Aritura, who is originally from Zimbabwe, said Nazi symbols were painted on the door and wall of the house he rents in Channing Street.

Police have received a report of the incident which was discovered after 1730 BST on Monday.

Mr Aritura, who moved into the house in August, is now staying with a friend.

He said he had never been the victim of a racist attack like this before and now felt differently about living in Northern Ireland.

Nick Griffin’s controversial first appearance on the BBC’s Question Time is met by scores of demonstrators protested outside the building in London, incensed that the corporation invited the BNP leader on to the programme.

During the recording he claimed he was "loathed" by Nazis in Britain because of the direction he had taken the far-right party.

At one pointed he taunted Justice Secretary Jack Straw, saying his own father had served in the RAF during the Second World War while Mr Straw’s father had been in prison for "refusing to fight Hitler".

Asked by presenter David Dimbleby if he had ever denied the Holocaust, he replied: "I do not have a conviction for Holocaust denial."

He was attacked by a number of audience members, with one man branding his views as "disgusting" and accusing him of "poisoning politics". Another man suggested derisively that he should be consigned to the South Pole where "the colourless landscape will suit you".

Mr Griffin claimed he had been "relentlessly attacked and demonised" in the days leading up to the programme. "I am not a not Nazi and never have been," he said.

He defended his assertion that Winston Churchill would have been a BNP member if he was alive today and said the party had changed under his leadership. "I am the most loathed man in Britain in the eyes of Britain’s Nazis," he said.

"They loathe me because I have brought the British National Party from being, frankly, an anti-Semitic and racist organisation into being the only political party which, in the clashes between Israel and Gaza, stood full square behind Israel’s right to deal with Hamas terrorists."

Mr Straw however said that, like the Nazis, the BNP continued to define itself on the basis of race. "It is that difference – the fact that the BNP defines itself on race – which distinguishes it from every other political party I can think of," he said.

Shadow communities minister Baroness Warsi said the majority of the audience had been "appalled" by Mr Griffin’s views which had been "exposed" by his appearance on the programme.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne accused Mr Griffin of "playing the same old game" of "pedalling hatred and fear against a minority".

The BNP leader’s appearance on the programm was met with large protest outside the BBC building. Three people were arrested as 25 protesters gained entry to the reception area of the building in White City, west London, as scores of demonstrators protested outside the building in London, incensed that the corporation invited Mr Griffin on to the programme.

The Metropolitan Police said there had been three arrests, two for violent disorder and the third of a person wanted on warrant.

The BBC has spent much of the day defending its decision, arguing that it has to be impartial and cannot be expected to perform the role of censor.

In a strong defence of the decision to invite the extreme-right politician on to tonight’s show, Mark Thompson said "censorship cannot be outsourced to the BBC".

An appeal by cabinet minister Peter Hain against Mr Griffin’s appearance was thrown out yesterday by a special panel convened by the BBC Trust to discuss the controversy.

Thompson’s comments came as pop stars, writers and union members joined together to condemn the BBC for giving the British National Party a platform on its political programme.

‘Expose their bigotry’

Jon Snow talked to the Labour MP and government minister Margaret Hodge, who has previously debated with the BNP on Channel 4 News and has a number of BNP councillors in her Barking constituency.

She, like the Justice Secretary Jack Straw believes they should be debated. But others including the protesters outside the BBC tonight believe the party’s leader should be denied the platform of Question Time.

Margaret Hodge said: "I’ve got 12 democratically elected BNP councillors in my constituency and it’s absurd for me to think that you cannot engage with them in a debate. In fact it is through debate that you can expose their bigotry, their lies, and start drawing people back to mainstream parties.

"I’ve had him [Nick Griffin] at polling stations with me in Barking where I’ve been on my own, he’s been with a couple of people. And what does he do? He attacks me as an immigrant and he attacks me as a Jew. He is a nasty, nasty man with an appalling set of values.

"But we need to show that to the public and certainly for my constituents in Barking, that exposure, that engagement, is part of the route of expelling them from the democratic arena."
 
Jerry Dammers, founder of ska group The Specials, attacked the BBC as naive for giving BNP leader Nick Griffin a chance to express his views on Question Time tonight.

His words were echoed by the former children’s laureate Michael Rosen who said people had a right not to hear the BNP’s message.

They were speaking during an emergency public rally held by Unite Against Fascism in central London last night. Around 400 people crammed into the hall to hear speeches repeatedly lambast the BBC and the BNP.

Mr Dammers urged the public to travel to London tomorrow to protest against Mr Griffin’s appearance on Question Time.

He explained: "I think the BBC are definitely wrong in allowing them on because it’s cosmetic, the BNP are hiding their true identity as Nazis and fascists and the BBC are allowing themselves to be used for that purpose."

Mr Rosen who presents a BBC programme said it was essential to expose the tactics used by the BNP in order to disguise their right wing messages and argued that the group had no claim to freedom of speech as a reason for appearing on the programme.

He explained: "We’ve got a right not to hear that stuff. I’m Jewish, black people, Asian people or anybody, we have a right not to hear that stuff, and the BBC knows that and that’s why I’m not allowed to put out racist stuff on my programme."

Anti-fascist activists will picket the building all day and step up their demonstration ahead of the filming of the programme in the early evening.

Nick Griffin is due to appear on a panel with writer and broadcaster Bonnie Greer, Liberal Democrat Chris Huhne, Justice Secretary Jack Straw and Conservative Baroness Warsi.