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UK Campaign Group Led By Donkeys, Unfurls Putin Banner On Farage Poll Rally

FILE PHOTO: The Britain's national flag flies next to the Elizabeth Tower, commonly known as Big Ben, on national day of reflection to mark the two year anniversary of the United Kingdom going into national lockdown, in London, Britain, March 23, 2022. REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

UK Campaign group Led by Donkeys, said it was responsible for unfurling a banner of Russia’s President Vladimir Putin during an election rally address by Nigel Farage of the right wing Reform UK party on Saturday.

Led By Donkeys which opposes Farage’s views, confirmed the stunt took place at the Columbine Centre, at Walton on the Naze in southeast England, and posted a video of the unveiling on the social media platform X.

That post showed the banner slowly unfurling behind a speaking Farage, revealing a smiling Putin giving a thumbs-up sign, along with the words “I (heart emoji) Nigel”.

UK Campaign Group Led By Donkeys said on X: “Nigel Farage says Putin is the world leader he ‘admires the most’ and blames the West for Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

That was a reference to comments Farage made earlier this month when he said the eastward expansion of the European Union and NATO had provoked Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

The remarks, made in an interview with the BBC, drew strong criticism across the British political spectrum ahead of a July 4 national election in which Farage’s party is predicted to win millions of votes.

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On seeing the banner, Farage said: “Who put that up there,” adding: “Someone at the Columbine Centre needs to get the sack.”

The audience then started chanting: “Rip it down.”

Reuters has sought comment from Reform UK.

Farage is seeking election as a lawmaker, or member of parliament (MP), in Clacton-on-Sea, which is nine miles from Walton on the Naze.

On Friday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said he was hurt and angry that a supporter of Reform UK had been recorded making a racial slur about him, saying it was too important for him not to speak out.

The supporter called Sunak a “Paki”, a term applied to people from the Indian subcontinent. Farage said he was dismayed by those remarks but later claimed that it was a set-up to undermine Reform UK’s campaign.