Ukip's Croydon Carnival Is An Absolute Shambles As Steel Drummers Refuse To Play For Party

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UKIP CARNIVAL
The protesters and reporters seemed to outnumber supporters | Ned Simons/Huffington Post

The Ukip carnival, intended to rebuff allegations of racism, ended in carnage before Nigel Farage had even arrived - with a steel band refusing to play for the eurosceptic party.

And local Croydon Ukip organiser Winston McKenzie, former parliamentary candidate for Croydon North, branded the area a "dump" as he aired his frustration with protesters.

The chaos began when Marlon Hibbert, whose band Endurance Steel had been hired to play at the Croydon carnival by McKenzie, told HuffPost UK that the band had not been aware that the booking had been made by the anti-Europe party.

"My parents are from Jamaica, I'm really upset about this situation" the band's 22-year-old musical director told HuffPost UK, shaking his head.

Within minutes, the band stopped playing for the assembled crowd of supporters, protesters and bemused locals, packed up and moved on.

Dozens of anti-Ukip protesters had assembled for the carnival, with one holding up a sign saying: "We are Romanians and we don't feel comfortable with your racism."

Chants rang out of "racist, racist" and "Nigel's bottled it" as it became apparent the Ukip leader was nowhere nearby.

He had yet to make an appearance before the carnival atmosphere came to an abrupt end - with Ukip citing "security concerns" as the reason.

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McKenzie, who stood as the Ukip candidate for parliament in the constituency's 2012 by-election, denied the party leader was scared but said there were "certain situations you have to avoid".

"Croydon has become a dump," McKenzie told reporters. "How can you ask an international leader somewhere he isn't safe."

McKenzie said if he were in Farage's shoes he would also have considered not turning given the Ukip leader had recently been "hit by eggs" at another event.

Farage was expected to make a speech and an appeal to black and ethnic minority voters at 3pm. The party has 42 candidates across the borough.

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With just two days to go until European elections which Ukip is widely expected to win and push the Tories into third place, the party has been plagued with scandals.

David Cameron urged voters not to be "tempted" by Ukip, saying the eurosceptic party is being "found out" by a succession of rows over unpalatable views.

The Prime Minister accused Ukip leader Nigel Farage of making "appalling" remarks about Romanian immigration but declined to join Labour MPs in branding him racist.

What Does Ukip Actually Have To Do To Be Called Racist?

Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, told ITV News that it was "racist to somehow stir up fears about Romanians living next door. So Ukip should say they were wrong on that."

Tottenham MP David Lammy was more overt. "What Nigel Farage said over the weekend was racist. So I'm clear, he's a racist," he said. And Diane Abbott, the former shadow health minister, said Farage's "remarks were racist" and she was "glad everybody has stopped pussyfooting around".

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