ORGANISERS of Durham Miners’ Gala have rejected claims a right-wing group was escorted away by police for simply flying a Union flag.

A video circulating on Facebook shows members of group wearing For Britain rosettes being led along New Elvet by police on Saturday.

One of the group can be heard chastising officers, claiming they are being ‘kettled’.

Durham Miners’ Association has issued a statement to say the claims are ‘completely false’.

It said: “This was a group of activists from the far-right group, For Britain, who did not receive permission to march and were seeking to disrupt the proceedings and hijack the Big Meeting for their divisive, racist agenda.

“Therefore, the police took the decision to escort them from the racecourse for their own safety.

“The Durham Miners’ Gala is now and has always been, a celebration of trade unionism, unity and internationalism.

“We ask people not to be fooled by those who drape themselves in the British flag but who are in truth, promoting a far-right, extremist agenda.”

The incident took place on Saturday as 200,000 people were in the city centre for the 134th Big Meeting.

It is one of the largest socialist gatherings in Europe and also included protest groups demonstrating against the UK visit of US president Donald Trump.

A spokesman for Durham Constabulary said the force had agreed to facilitate a right-wing, pro-Trump protest at Palace Green on Saturday.

He said: "Even before this occurred, one faction of this protest were part of an altercation in the Market Place.

“In the early afternoon a group from the protest at Palace Green went to the showfield and almost immediately there was another altercation with people there.

“Officers had to intervene and fearing further confrontation informed this group to leave what is ultimately a packed family event.

“Facilitating the right to protest is always a complex area and the decisions taken by officers on the ground are not only about the safety of the public but also the safety of the protesters themselves."

The member of For Britain who posted the video was not available for comment when contacted by The Northern Echo.

In a statement, Durham County Councillor John Clare said, the video commentary from the group was full of hyperbolic 'nonsense'.

He said: “The police decided that, if they demonstrated at the Gala, there was a danger of public disorder, and asked them to leave the Gala.

“To be frank, all these people were just far-right activists wanting a fight, and the police were absolutely correct to keep the two sides apart, as much for their own safety as for public order.

“All I see in this video is the police behaving appropriately, and a chap trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.”