VISITORS to a UKIP meeting were jeered and chanted at by protesters in Hove on Tuesday night.

Around 50 people from campaign groups including Stand Up To UKIP gathered outside the Ralli Memorial Hall where residents were invited to meet UKIP European election candidates Patricia Culligan and Alan Stevens.

Supporters of the Euro-sceptic party standing on the steps of the hall responded to shouts of "UKIP go home" by saying "We are home" back at the protesters.

UKIP members and residents waited outside under the watch of police and also a security guard who had been hired by the party.

Prior to the meeting party officials had formally asked the chief constable to arrest any protesters who called party members 'fascists', arguing they would be committing a hate crime under the Public Order Act.

A total of two police vans were parked up with four officers stood by the protesters on the pavement outside the hall.

There were isolated shouts of "fascist" and protesters chanted "UKIP, UKIP, UKIP - racist, racist, racist", to which the police did not respond .

Protesters held placards saying "no to racism, no to bigotry, no to UKIP" and "Blame the Etonians, not the Estonians".

A UKIP supporter who asked not to be named, said of the protesters: " I think they're just bullies. Why don't they have a debate with us?

“I've got two Indians living with me. How can I be racist?"

One group of protesters held a banner saying: "We are all migrants".

Before entering the meeting the MEP candidate Ms Culligan said: "I agree with that banner. We have a lot more in common than those people outside realise.

“I want to be able to welcome people into this county from all over the world. We can't do that with an open door policy."

Janice Atkinson, chairwoman of UKIP South East, said before the meeting: “UKIP is the third party of politics, has 100s of councillors, is expected to come top in the European elections and should not be intimidated by rabble rousers.

“This rabble is the type of people Brighton attracts and the fact that there is a Green council only attracts more oddballs," she said.