UKIP’s election campaign launch was disrupted before it even started, as anti-racism activists broke into the hotel venue to protest the party’s immigration policies.
Video footage shows several people entering the venue with placards, just as UKIP leader Paul Nuttall was due to hold a press conference outlining the party’s plans to run in the general election on June 8.
One protester, holding a Stand Up To Racism placard reading “Migrants and refugees welcome here,” is heard shouting: “It is time we stood up against UKIP and racism, it is wrong!”
Another protester hits out at UKIP’s recent announcement it will seek to impose a ban on full-face veils as it sees them as an impediment to integrating in British society.
“They are racist and they do target Muslim women, and how dare they tell Muslim women what to wear when they have no right to?
“How dare white men tell Muslim women what to wear constantly and threaten us?” she cries out as she is escorted from the room.
Another video shows a man being ushered out of the King George V suite at London’s Marriott County Hall hotel, where the launch took place, as he accuses the party of being “nasty and racist.”
“Paul Nuttall wants to spread division and racism,” he says.
“How dare he tell Muslim women what to wear.
“UKIP want to blame migrants, they want to blame refugees and they want to blame Muslims for the problems in society.”
He also says both Nuttall and former UKIP leader Nigel Farage should be blamed for the “problems in society.”
“They are kicking the only Muslim woman in the room out of this room.
“How dare UKIP stand on a stage and try and tell us what’s good for us?” he adds.
Police were called when protesters refused to leave the premises.
UKIP launch is underway but half of the journalists here can’t get into the room. Hotel says protesters are refusing to leave.
— Kate Forrester (@kateforrester) 28 April 2017
Ahead of the launch, Nuttall told the BBC his party is not waging a war against Muslims, as suggested by one of UKIP’s former donors, Aaron Banks, in regards to a newly-proposed ban on burkas.
“We are not at war with Muslims. What we want to see is equality, we want to see integration.
“The problem that we have in this country … integration is getting worse … communities are becoming more divided.
“What we need to do is make sure that people come together.”
He did, however, announce that he intends to stop anti-Islam candidate Anne Marie Waters, who is also director of Sharia Watch UK and a former member of right-wing group Pegida UK, from running for the seat in Lewisham East against Labour’s Heidi Alexander.
Nuttall’s decision to block Waters’ candidacy comes after the far-right member retweeted a post on Friday morning saying “Islam is evil.”
Waters also said in a YouTube campaign video on Wednesday that Muslim migrants put “children at risk of rape and sexual abuse” and that they are a major concern to millions of Britons.