Film ID:
YFA 4505

NATIONAL FRONT MEETING, LEEDS SCHOOL

1978

Visitor Tabs

Description

This film documents a National Front meeting taking place at a school in Leeds city centre. The filmmaker predominantly chronicles the police operation and handling of the meet; made evermore precarious by Anti-National Front protestors, who, large in number, make various attempts to disrupt the event.

The film opens with surveillance style shots taken from an elevated position as National Front supporters queue up outside a school in Leeds. Supporters walk down a small alleyway behind gates with policeman waiting around the entrance. A group of Anti-Nation Front protestors are then captured in a large group behind a group of policeman, and units on horseback move in to provide support. The next shot shows a group of Nation Front supporters gather around a senior officer, who addresses them. Another shot shows the protest, and the filmmaker continues to get different views from his high vantage point; policeman seal off a road, two women push prams down a deserted street and policeman then pile into the back of police vans.

A man is then led away from the protest with a policeman holding him in a firm headlock. Some members of the press are captured waiting with their cameras before several people are applauded as they walk past the protestors. People then walk down a stretch of pavement lined by police officers and a man stands before the protestors talking into a microphone; many wear leather jackets and denim jeans. A shot captures the protests in more detail as the camera pans round the scene; officers hem the protestors against the pavements and shops behind the protestors have all been boarded up in anticipation. The final shots in this sequence show the protestors continuing to wait for the NF, and views of units on horseback patrolling the area.

Policemen, some on foot, others on horseback, lead a small group of National Front supporters through the streets towards the school and they are surrounded on either side by protestors, who follow closely. Close ups of policeman are followed by views outside Leeds train station, where supporters converge outside the entrance and move towards an underpass. The next shot shows the police presence around the area; several mounted units wait outside the station, police vans are parked on a street and there is a brief glimpse of an officer speaking on a radio.

Returning to the school area, policemen continue to block off the road to the school and on the other side of the street a large crowd of protesters can be seen. A group of policeman move quickly between the two lines escorting an offender, before an officer on horseback tries to break up a fight. The next sequence shows shots of policeman dragging a man away, another man lying on the ground in a foetal position and a large altercation that is captured outside a church, where mounted units step in to try to bring about a resolution. Constables are the filmed resting outside the school with cups of tea, before the next shot captures the defensive lines that block the school.

National Front supporters lead by police on horseback move through streets in Leeds, followed by TV crews and protestors, who chant and hurl abuse at them. More fights begin to break out and mounted officers on horseback attempt to keep the offenders in line. A street sign for 'Park East Square' is briefly filmed, before the action continues to show officers trying to organise the march. Officers then exit from several police vans.

A line of steel fences block the entrance to a street that leads to the school, and several officers stand on guard. A close ups show several signs around the area: the first reads 'Rossington ST', the second 'School', the third 'Great George's ST' and the final sign reads 'St Ann Street'. Various shots show the officers patrolling the area, and police vans arriving past the camera. In the school car park officers walk towards the camera carrying lunch boxes, and in the next scene they are shown in a classroom eating sandwiches, reading the newspaper and playing cards. Coaches pull up to the surrounding streets, policemen disembark, before marching to their positions in tight formations. The final shot in this sequence shows a defensive line of policeman blocking the street.

An expansive view shows a long line of policeman that run the entire length of pavement. Anti-National Front supporters are then shown gathering on the streets and many hold banners. A man is then stretchered into an ambulance, before there is a close up of the policeman's pack lunch and more shots of constables eating. The crowd are whipped up into frenzy as the National front supporters are lead into area and past the police blockade, before heading towards the school entrance. An officer then pushes two children in push chairs past the rows of policeman. Next, the filmmaker captures a shot of an injured man surrounded by protestors. Several men are then filmed getting into the back of a police van with an injured man.

Returning to the elevated surveillance position, the filmmaker captures initial shots of the empty streets by the school house. There is a brief sequence that captures policeman in the school playgrounds, talking to senior officers and having their lunch. Police, along with protestors, gather in anticipation of the National Fronts arrival. The police fortify their blockade and a banner moves past the police blockade that reads 'Anti-Nazi League'. A stream of National Front supporters are led through the police defences, while the protestor attempt to push and throw bottles at them. The National Front supporters, now safely inside the cordoned off area, enter the school for the meet. The final sequence shows more activity amongst the protestors and police.