POLITICS
13/05/2014 11:54 BST | Updated 13/05/2014 12:59 BST

Ukip Tell Police To Arrest Demonstrators Who Call Them Fascists For Hate Crimes Ahead Of Meeting

Ukip has asked police officers to arrest demonstrators for a hate crime if they call their supporters "fascists" at a public meeting held by the party.

Three of the party's European election candidates said, in a joint statement, that they had asked Sussex Police to arrest "any protestors who call our supporters 'fascists', hurl other abuse or any physical assault, for 'hate crime' or under the Public Order Act" at the Hove meeting on Tuesday night.

An anti-Ukip demonstration is due to take place outside the meeting. On Sunday, Nigel Farage claimed threats posed by anti-fascist groups demonstrating at Ukip events are the reason he uses bodyguards.

ukip protest

Ukip asked police to arrest anyone calling them 'fascist' for hate crime

Ukip candidates Janice Atkinson, Patricia Culligan and Alan Stevens, who will speak at the Hove meeting, said in their statement that these groups were "state funded rabble rousers".

They said: "So-called 'anti-racist' groups such as Unite Against Fascism and Hope not Hate are taxpayer funded bodies and sponsored by senior Labour figures through the trade union movement. They are deliberately targeting Ukip, its supporters and elected officials to deliberately intimidate and stop democracy.

"Ukip is the third party of politics, has hundreds of councillors, is expected to come top in the European elections and should not be intimidated by state funded rabble rousers.

"We therefore call on the police to confirm that they will prosecute under 'hate crime' any individual or group who seeks to intimidate our supporters and candidates or at least under the Public Order offence under Section 4, 4A or 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act."

Nick Lowles, from Hope Not Hate, told The Huffington Post UK the group was consulting their lawyers over Ukip's comments about them, adding the group had never called Ukip fascists.

He added: "This is co-ordinated attempt by Ukip to make people feel sorry for them, to present themselves as the 'got at' people.

"We don't call Ukip fascists, we campaign against them. We are doing that in accordance with the law."

The Public Order Act empowers officers to arrest people who incite fear of violence or behave in public in a way that will cause others "fear, alarm or distress".

The Home Office defines hate crime as "any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a personal characteristic. Hate crime can be motivated by disability, gender identity, race, religion or faith and sexual orientation".

HuffPost UK requested comment from Sussex Police but had not received a response as this story went live.

It follows news that a blogger was paid a visit by police after Ukip complained about it.

The tweet was a tongue-in-cheek poster of 10 Great Reasons To Vote Ukip, such as scrapping maternity leave and paid holiday.

The tweeter, Michael Abberton, claims he did not even make the poster himself - merely added links to the party's own material that backed up the poster's claims.