LONDON — Is today the final straw for Nigel Farage?
The Brexit Party leader was trapped on his campaign bus surrounded by people clutching milkshakes and wearing all-black clothing, Kent Live reported Wednesday. It was a continuation of a “milkshake madness” protest of Farage that has swept not just Britain but also social media this week.
Driver Michael Botton told Kent Live that Farage was unprepared to exit the vehicle: “There are a couple of guys standing over there with milkshakes, they were going to throw them over him. But the police are there, we’ve spotted them and now Nigel isn’t getting off the bus.”
The news traveled fast on social media, with the Guardian’s deputy editor tweeting: “Latest: -May barricaded in Downing Street refusing to come out -Farage reportedly ‘trapped’ on a bus surrounded by people armed with milkshakes Strange day.”
Wednesday’s drama follows Farage being “milkshaked” by a 32-year-old man on Monday. The man was identified as Paul Crowther, who confirmed that he had thrown a banana-and-salted-caramel milkshake from Five Guys at the controversial politician. Crowther was later charged with common assault and will appear in court next month.
“It’s a right of protest against people like him. The bile and the racism he spouts out in this country is far more damaging than a bit of milkshake to his front,” Crowther said at the time, offering his rationale for the attack.
“Milkshaking” has become a recent symbol of protest on British soil. But while there are some who find videos of politicians being doused in sweet liquid entertaining, others have expressed concern. Across the country in recent weeks, divisive candidates for European Parliament elections have been targeted in attacks. Milkshakes appear to have become the protesters’ tool of choice, as attackers sipping shakes are far less conspicuous than bystanders clutching eggs.
Spilled milk or not, pollsters say Farage’s Brexit Party is expected to do well in the election on Thursday.
Last weekend, Burger King came under fire after tweeting: “Dear people of Scotland, we’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK #justsaying.” The tweet was seemingly in response to the news that a McDonald’s near the site of a Farage rally in Edinburgh had been asked to halt sales of milkshakes and ice cream.
Although some on social applauded the tweet, others expressed concern, calling the tweet an attempt to incite violence. Burger King later sent a follow-up tweet, stating: “We’d never endorse violence — or wasting our delicious milkshakes! So enjoy the weekend and please drink responsibly people.”
Carl Benjamin, a U.K. Independence Party candidate in the European elections, and former English Defense League leader Tommy Robinson also have been milkshaked by protesters.
Benjamin is under investigation for a tweet in which he said he “wouldn’t even rape” Labour Party lawmaker Jess Phillips, although he maintains that his comments were a joke — much to the concern of many. Benjamin has been milkshaked four times in recent days, while Robinson had two milkshakes poured over him over two days earlier this month.
After the milkshaking Monday, Farage tweeted: “Sadly some remainers have become radicalised, to the extent that normal campaigning is becoming impossible. For a civilised democracy to work you need the losers consent, politicians not accepting the referendum result have led us to this.” He was referring to Britons who voted to remain in the European Union in a 2016 referendum that was narrowly won by those in favor of leaving the bloc, a position strongly advocated by Farage.
The milkshake attacks in Britain may have been inspired by the story of Australia’s “Egg Boy,” a swoopy-haired teenager who cracked an egg on the back of far-right lawmaker Fraser Anning’s head at a news conference in March. After the attack, Egg Boy was punched in the face by the senator, as security officials scrambled to control the situation.
Last month, the political eggings continued in Australia. Prime Minister Scott Morrison was hit on the head with an egg — although on this occasion it failed to crack.