LONDON – The lowly milkshake has turned into an unlikely weapon of choice for Britons determined to make a splashy statement against the rise of the Brexit-backing populist right.
Former U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage became the latest political figure Monday to be doused with the sticky concoction while campaigning for his new Brexit Party in this week’s European Parliament election.
Images shared on social media showed a grim-faced Farage — his black suit covered from shoulder to toe — being led away by a bodyguard during a campaign stop in the northern city of Newcastle.
The suspected culprit told the Press Association it was a £5.25 ($6.70) banana and salted caramel shake he bought at the local Five Guys hamburger chain store.
Paul Crowther, who was detained in handcuffs at the scene, said he threw the shake to protest Farage’s “bile and racism.”
“I didn’t know he was in town. I thought this is my only chance,” the 32-year-old was quoted as saying before being detained by the police.
He said he had been looking forward to the milkshake, “but I think it went on a better purpose.”
First-time offenders in such cases usually pay a small fine.
In a tweet, Farage blamed the incident on EU supporters who “have become radicalized, to the extent that normal campaigning is becoming impossible.”
The European Parliament election campaign has turned into a test of Britons’ support for Brexit three years after they first narrowly voted to leave the bloc.
Farage’s Brexit Party is leading the polls on its promise to get Britain out quickly and by any means.
The Remain camp’s milkshake resistance meanwhile has also targeted a far-right leader who is best known by his online alias Tommy Robinson — an adviser to UKIP who once headed the now-banned English Defense League.
A clip that went viral this month showed a young man of Asian descent splashing Robinson in the face with a McDonald’s drink in response to something the far-right leader said.
Robinson fought back by landing a few punches at the man before being restrained.
Meanwhile, UKIP European Parliament candidate Carl Benjamin — known by his social media pseudonym Sargon of Akkad — has been “milkshaked” at least four times this month.
A defiant Benjamin showed up to one of his events this week with a McDonald’s cup in his hand.
The entire mess prompted McDonald’s to temporarily halt milkshake sales near the site of a campaign event Farage held last week.
“We will not be selling milkshakes or ice cream tonight,” a sign taped to the door of the fast food chain’s central Edinburgh restaurant said.
“This is due to a police request given recent events.”
That decision elicited a controversial comeback from the U.S. chain’s eternal rival Burger King.
“Dear people of Scotland,” the @BurgerKingUK account wrote on Saturday.
“We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun. Love BK.”
It signed the post with the #justsaying hashtag.
A flurry of angry comments on Twitter prompted the account to later add: “We’d never endorse violence — or wasting our delicious milkshakes!”
A spokesman for Theresa May said on a more sombre note that the prime minister “has been clear that politicians should be able to go about their work and campaign without harassment, intimidation, or abuse.”
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