§ 35. Mr. Driberg
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to an incident outside the Pigalle Restaurant on the night of 7th June when a number of Fascist demonstrators shouted offensive racialist slogans at an American artist; and why those who organised and took part in this demonstration have not been prosecuted.
§ Mr. Vosper
I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given on 23rd June to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd). It is for the police to decide, in the circumstances of any particular case, whether there should be a prosecution.
§ Mr. Driberg
That answer was evasive and jejune, as Written Answers customarily are. Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether it is correct, as stated in a number of reports, that these demonstrators were allowed by the police to assemble for a considerable time before the artist in question emerged after his show and that they were obviously waiting far him with banners making their object quite clear? Why were they not dispersed before? Were not they causing an obstruction, guilty of insulting words and behaviour, and conduct calculated to cause a breach of the peace? Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that there is rather a neat and regrettable antithesis between the gentle handling of Fascists and the very swift handling of anti-Fascist demonstrators outside South Africa House?
§ Mr. Vosper
My information is that the police were on duty outside the Pigalle Restaurant from 9.30 p.m. to 3.30 a.m., and that for most of this time a few demonstrators showed relatively innocuous posters. When more offensive 693 posters were displayed the police asked the people concerned to disperse, which they duly did. In the circumstances it seems right that the police did not pursue prosecutions.