A LANDLORD has defended his decision to allow members of a far-right group to meet in his Kentish Town pub.
John Coyne, owner of the Gloucester Arms pub in Leighton Road, said the supporters of Hungarian political party Jobbik were harmless. Anti-fascist campaigners, who staged a demonstration outside his pub on Sunday, could “go whistle”, he added.
The meeting was attended by about 50 Jobbik supporters and the party’s head of international affairs, Zoltan Fuzessy.
Jobbik, which has three MEPs, is part of an alliance of far-right political parties in Europe including the British National Party (BNP).
Mr Coyne said: “They are not National Front or anything like that. They are just Hungarians doing their stuff. They put their flag up and sing their anthem.”
Mr Coyne insisted his pub was “open to all”, adding: “I have bought the Gloucester Arms and no one dictates to me what I do.”
Around 40 Hungarians – mostly in dark glasses and with bouncer-style bomber jackets – sat in a circle in the pub’s back hall.
Jobbik supporters raised £230 for Great Ormond Street Hospital at the meeting.
But anti-fascist moles sitting in on the meeting said a bucket collection also went around for the New Hungarian Guard, which replaced a banned paramilitary association, the Hungarian Guard, a few months ago.
The new clash over the hosting of the Jobbik meeting follows a simmering row between the Leighton Road Neighbourhood Association and Mr Coyne, who bought and refurbished the pub 18 months ago.
Mr Coyne said their complaints had prevented him from holding a fund-raising event for troops returning from Afghanistan because of objections over his licensing agreements.
James Bethell, director of anti-extremism campaign group Nothing British, said: “Jobbik are a revolting and extremist party with close links to Nick Griffin and whose leaders regularly incite hatred against minorities in Hungary.”
Former leader of Camden Council Raj Chada, who joined the protest, added: “This was the community saying there is no place for racists and fascists in Kentish Town or anywhere in Camden.”