Film ID:
YFA 4507



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This film captures a demonstration by the National Front in Dewsbury, 1975. The films purpose was to record the West Yorkshire Metropolitans Police’s enforcing of the event, which for the most part involved avoiding clashes between NF supporters and Anti-NF protestors. This film is a tremendous account of the demonstration, as the filmmaker fluidly moves between all concerned parties, deftly conveying the social polarisation caused by multiculturalism in 1970s Britain.

Title – Demonstration

Title – Dewsbury November 1975.

The film opens in a police station where senior officers sitting in arm chairs address a group of constables, also seated. Constables in full uniform then line up, receiving orders before driving out the station in a coach that has ‘West Yorkshire Metropolitan Police’ written along the side of it. The final shot of this sequence shows an exterior shot of the police station.

Policemen file down a street in Dewsbury and patrol the area as Anti-National front supporters begin to gather. Many of the supporters are from diverse cultural backgrounds and hold plaques, some of which read ‘Black and white unite, fight racism’ and ‘National Front is national enemy’. A protestor then stands on a raised platform and makes a speech into a megaphone, before more shots show some close ups of the crowd, and a man wearing a denim waistcoat shouts to the crowd from the platform. The protestors are then escorted by police (including some mounted units) down various streets in Dewsbury; many of the congregation hand out fliers to people, who watch from the pavement. The protest moves past commercial areas with shops such as ‘Marks and Spencer’s’ and ‘Boots’.

By a bridge, a man is dragged across the road by a police officer, and further shots show more offenders being hauled into the back of a police van. The protestors move on and some shows show the police clearing the route for the National Front demonstration; an officer in an orange visibility vest directs traffic. The National Front march, led by police and some bag pipe players, emerges from under a bridge. The filmmaker gets various shots of the NF supporters, who wield Union Jack flags and homemade placards. The procession continues to be led through more streets in Dewsbury, before reaching an area where protestors have gathered along the pavements; many of whom vent their anger, verbally. Police try to hold back the protestors, who jostle with police as the National Front move into the vicinity.

The filmmaker captures several shots of protestors being restrained by police as some violence breaks out, and one incident involves a young girl, who is promptly lifted into the back of a police van.  An expansive view of the area shows the scene below: longs rows of officers hem the protestors in along the pavements, and some of their signs can be seen above the many heads. The Anti-National Front supporters are captured in more detail by the filmmaker; sat in a semi-circle, behind a row police, and there are close up shots of their signs, some of which read ‘Don’t bring Hitler back to life’ and ‘Black and white workers unite against fascism’. There is then a brief shot of a grand building with a clock tower, before the final shot shows a man picking up documents from the ground by a police fence.