A handful of anti-fascist demonstrators broke into the BBC’s television headquarters but they could not prevent British far-right leader Nick Griffin from taking part in a much publicised political debate.
The British National Party chief and MEP said he had been misquoted over his beliefs:
“I have been relentlessly attacked and demonised over the last few days. The fact is that my father was in the RAF (Royal Air Force) during the Second World War. I am not a Nazi, I never have been,” he said.
Some in the studio audience challenged him. One man said: “You poison the minds of people in this country. The vast majority of this audience find what you stand for to be completely disgusting.”
The BNP leader said European law prevented him from explaining past comments questioning the Holocaust, a claim that brought derision from others in the studio.
After the show, other panellists said his credibility had been damaged and his extremism exposed.
Griffin accused the hundreds of protesters outside the building of attacking the rights of millions to hear his views.
The BBC’s decision to invite the head of the anti-immigration British National Party onto the show has polarised opinion in the country.