Football supporters in east Belfast have hit out after a right-wing group used a match at the weekend to try and gain support.
An Assembly member for the area has called the presence of the BNP outside the Glentoran versus Glenavon football game at the Oval “nauseous”.
A small group of BNP supporters gathered outside the grounds with placards demanding the withdrawl of British soldiers from the Middle East as well as handing out flyers and a petition.
DUP MLA Robin Newton said that fans wanted to watch a football match, not to be faced with BNP “messages of hate”.
“Glentoran Football Club has a generational tradition of appealing to a broad range of supporters and players,” he said.
“I presume this BNP presence is some sort of campaign to raise their nauseous profile.”
The BNP hailed the protest a success and said they were welcomed with “open arms”.
“Every person who passed us showed their support, signing the petitions, taking leaflets and honking their horns, proving the BNP is very popular over here,” Tom Gower, the BNP’s subscriptions and enquiries secretary, said.
A Glentoran Community Trust spokesman disputed the claims.
“A lot of people have reported signing this petition without realising it was linked to the BNP and would not have done if they had known,” he said.
“If the BNP think they can piggyback on the hard work that Glentoran Community Trust has done over the years, they are very much mistaken.”