Protesters brandished placards in a Birmingham city centre demonstration against a teacher accused of using school equipment during lesson time to post racism on websites.
Around 50 anti-fascism campaigners gathered outside the General Teaching Council (GTC) in Victoria Square to voice concerns about Adam Walker.
Mr Walker, a technology teacher at Houghton Kepier Sports College in Sunderland, faces allegations he aired racist views on a British National Party (BNP) website using a school laptop while conducting a class.
More than a dozen uniformed police formed a barricade outside the GTC and demonstrators chanted “Scum, scum, Nazi scum, out of Brum” as 39-year-old Mr Walker attended the first day of a two-day hearing into the allegations.
It follows a hearing into the matter at the GTC in November, adjourned to yesterday, where riot police were called in to prevent violence between campaigners from the BNP and anti-fascism groups protesting outside the building. It was feared there would be repeat clashes during yesterday’s demonstration, however the BNP did not attend the event.
John Hemingway, general secretary of teachers union NASUWT in Birmingham, said: “We are delighted that we could hold a peaceful demonstration here today.
“We want to promote Birmingham as the multicultural city it is and show we will not tolerate the BNP.”
Martin Lynch, spokesman for Unite Against Facism, added: “Hatred and racism has no part in our society.
“Last time we were here the BNP tried to suggest that they represent the people of Birmingham, but we will not allow the BNP to use Birmingham as a platform to spread their messages of facism and racism.”
Attending the rally, Sparkbrook Respect Councillor Salma Yaqoob added: “The BNP is a racist, fascist organisation. It is not a legitimate political party.
“Their policies are openly racist and would be a catastrophe for the people of Birmingham.”
Labour and Liberal Democrat members, including Ladywood Labour MP Clare Short united to sign a statement condemning the BNP, while Yardley Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming accused the BNP of being the “heirs of Hitler parading in Victoria Square”.
BNP West Midlands spokesman Simon Darby accused the councillors of “meddling in matters that are not their concern”.
Mr Darby added: “They are basically trying to get someone the sack because he does not support their political views, and that has got to be wrong.”
The hearing last November was adjourned after Mr Walker submitted that a member of the panel, Judy Moorhouse, was a “known opponent” of the BNP and had made public statements about its policies, which could mean the tribunal might be biased. The allegation, brought against Mr Walker by the GTC, states that he engaged in unacceptable professional conduct while employed at Houghton Kepier Sports College in Houghton-le-Spring, near Sunderland, between February and March 2007.
Yesterday the GTC panel rejected an application for it to stay the proceedings against the ex-soldier because he was not represented by a lawyer.
Patrick Harrington, Mr Walker’s trade union representative, told the panel his client had found it difficult to find sustained employment, partly because of the proceedings against him, and had not been granted legal aid.
Urging the GTC to refer the matter to the European Court of Justice, Mr Harrington added: “Whilst the presenting officer is a barrister of long-standing and long experience, we feel there is an inequality of arms which endangers Mr Walker’s right to a fair procedure and a fair hearing.”
Rejecting Mr Walker’s application for the case to be stayed, panel chair Angela Stones said it was not necessary for the matter to be considered by the European Court of Justice.
Further preliminary arguments will be held on April 29 unless an application for judicial review is made before April 22.