Guardian Unlimited: From farce to violence as far-right
Le Pen shares a platform with BNP leader
The Guardian Jean-Marie Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, appeared in Britain yesterday under a cloak of such comic-book secrecy that even his supporters were embarrassed by it. Their modesty wore off, however, as they clashed with demonstrators in a surreal stand-off on the outskirts of Manchester. Mr Le Pen flew into north-west England to share a platform with Nick Griffin, leader of the BNP, with whom he shares hopes of nationalist success in the forthcoming European elections. They were to illustrate their solidarity in a joint press conference, but half an hour before the event, details of the venue were still a secret and journalists were told by David Jones, BNP press officer, to convene at a mysterious interim location: the car park of the stationery shop Office World near Didsbury.