Three members of UKIP have been suspended following the attack on socialist bookshop Bookmarks in Bloomsbury, central London, over the weekend.
UKIP's party chairman Tony McIntyre confirmed Elizabeth Jones, Luke Nash-Jones and Martin Costello have been suspended pending an investigation. A spokesperson for UKIP said: "It is understood that the three members were involved in an incident at the Bookmarks bookshop in London on Saturday."
No arrests resulted from the episode on Saturday evening when, between 6.30 and 7pm, a far-right mob of roughly 12 people bearing placards entered the shop and proceeded to bellow abuse at staff, tear up magazines, tip over displays and throw books to the ground while chanting racist and fascist slogans. One wore a Donald Trump mask and a number of the group wore red baseball hats reading "Make Britain Great Again".
Neither of the two staff members on duty were physically injured, but bookseller Noel Halifax told The Bookseller the experience was "chilling".
"We were in the process of closing anyway so it didn’t affect our sales that much. But it was unnerving. They were saying things like, ‘We know where you are, I hope you burn down, we’re going to come back again.’ You think ‘oh my god…’ If you know the history of alt-right groups, the historical resonance is chilling," described Halifax.
A video documenting the scene was originally posted on YouTube by the group Make Britain Great Again but quickly deleted. However, a copy was saved and uploaded again to expose the cohort.
In wake of the attempts to intimidate Bookmarks, and an outpouring of support from the trade, the shop is holding a "solidarity event" this Saturday (11th August) attended by authors.
The store's manager Dave Gilchrist, said: "The Nazis targeted books because they knew how important radical ideas are for challenging racism and fascism. The same is true today, and that is why we have to show that we won’t be intimidated."
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