Nigel Farage has slammed the mainstream media for failing to report on some 5,000 south Londoners who descended on a small coastal town and rioted, took drugs, and injured police officers, over fears of inflaming cultural sensitivities.
On Sunday, local media reported police responded to calls of a “beach cookout” at Greatstone near New Romney, Kent. Numbers swelled as the day progressed, with no social distancing being observed and few masks in sight, if any.
Mass gatherings of more than 30 people are still illegal under coronavirus regulations — although these have been enforced very selectively since the Black Lives Matter unrest spread across the Atlantic.
Local families complained of being driven off the beach by the visitors, who were later reported to be drinking, taking drugs, and playing loud music in contravention of regional rules on temporary entertainment events.
As evening descended, more out-of-towners came, with reports of street brawls and locals being “locked in their houses, terrified”. Tensions were inflamed at around 9 p.m. when police tried to bring the situation under control, resulting in four officers being injured. Video circulated on social media even showed one officer being hit by a car.
Regional BBC news described the event as being for “underprivileged London youth”, and was organised by Croydon jerk eatery Flavour Boss. The restaurant’s owner, Wayne Williams, had organised three coaches to take some 200 16- to 24-year-olds 75 miles to the Kent coast, but that details of the event had been leaked on social media, resulting in thousands more attending.
Mr Williams claimed that people’s reaction to “black people on the beach” was “racist”.
In the aftermath, locals complained of drug paraphernalia, used nappies, bottles of urine, human faeces, as well as broken glass and other rubbish being found strewn on the beach, on the streets, and even in people’s gardens.
Nigel Farage went down to the Kent town to talk to locals about the “total and utter lawlessness” that descended upon their community, with locals telling him between 3,000 and 5,000 people were involved in the illegal mass gathering.
Amidst all the reports of violence and vandalism, there had been just one arrest.
“I just wonder why a little seaside town being taken over in this way with this kind of behaviour has not made more news? Is it because we’re simply becoming a lawless society and no one cares? Or is it because the media have frankly become too scared to report on stories like this?” Mr Farage asked in a YouTube video posted on Thursday.
However, few would talk to Mr Farage on camera, with the Brexit Party leader remarking that “people are genuinely scared to speak”.
One man who would go on the record was local councillor David Wimble, who said that from very early on in the day things were getting out of hand. Car parks were full by 9 a.m., with double and illegal parking rife by noon. Local media reported residents saying that their private property was invaded by visitors leaving cars in their driveways.
By 3 p.m. the coaches started to arrive, with more minibuses joining private vehicles coming down from south London. One witness claimed that a London borough council-owned minibus was used.
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“By around 5:30, literally whole roads were gridlocked,” Mr Wimble said, recounting that loud music was being played from the beach in contravention of entertainment laws, and there was the smell of cannabis in the air.
“Afterwards, we found loads and loads of nitrous oxide [laughing gas] cylinders, and it just was getting more like a mini-riot,” the local lawmaker said. “People were being abused, people were being sworn at,” he told Farage, adding that there were attacks where cars had been parked.
“The next day, it was like a war zone,” he said,
Mr Wimble recalled that the violence peaked when he observed police trying to return law and order to Greatstone and telling the visitors to go home. He said rioters began to scream out “Black Lives Matter… as if that’s the joker card [you play]. You know, you say anything to anybody, then you’re being racist.”
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Mr Farage remarked on the incident as an example of “lawless Britain”, saying: “Why would something as appalling as what went on here not be part of our national news agenda?
“Is it because we just accept, now, that law and order is gone?
“Is it because we’re too terrified to criticise one community because the excuse given for the party was that it was Jamaican Independence Day?
“What is happening to our country? What is happening to our media? Why is it me that has to come along and try and report this and get it out to a big audience?”
Farage, who campaigned for decades for British independence from the EU, predicted in June that as crime rises across the United Kingdom, law and order would be the issue to dominate British political dialogue the 2020s, the way the EU did in the previous decade.
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