Far-right supporters and counter-protestors were kept apart by police cordon as they voiced their views over Government plans to house up to 2,000 asylum seekers at RAF Scampton, the historic home of the Dambuster Squadron, on Saturday.
Lincolnshire Police officers were present at both a far-right rally and a counter protest organised by Stand Up To Racism, which saw more than 100 supporters march through Lincoln city centre.
The Government announced last month that it is working on proposals to use the Scampton site, about five miles north of the city, to provide accommodation for single adult male asylum seekers, starting with around 200 and ‘increasing to 2,000 people over time.’
Refugees will also have access to catering facilities and basic primary care at Scampton, the former home of the Red Arrows and the Second World War Dambusters squadron.
The protests in Lincoln come just a day after Braintree District Council lost a High Court bid to prevent the Government housing up to 1,700 asylum seekers at Wethersfield Airfield, a former RAF base in Essex.
More than a hundred protestors joined a Stand Up To Racism march through Lincoln on Saturday as the far-right held a rally against plans to use RAF Scampton to house refugees
Protestors hold an England flag reading, ‘Illegals Not Wanted’ at a far-right demonstration in Lincoln city centre on Saturday
A small crowd of far-right supporters listened to arguments against the Government proposal
A protestor against the plans holds a sign, ‘RAF base resident says left don’t speak for me’
One protestor holds a sign arguing RAF Scampton is unsuitable for 1,700 asylum seekers
The Government announced last month that it is working on proposals to use the Scampton site, about five miles north of the city, to provide accommodation for single adult male asylum seekers, starting with around 200 and ‘increasing to 2,000 people over time’
Lawyers for the local authority asked for an injunction preventing the use of the airfield to house asylum seekers and opposed the Home Office’s argument that the need to accommodate more people was an ’emergency’ under planning law.
But Mr Justice Waksman concluded that the court did not have the legal power to grant the council’s application for an injunction, and therefore ruled in favour of the Government.
The protests also took place as Border Force officials escorted 100 migrants to Dover Docks after Suella Braverman announced amendments to the Illegal Migration Bill on Friday.
The Home Secretary said the changes proposed to her controversial legislation, designed to stop migrants on small boats crossing the English Channel, would help prevent ‘last-minute, bogus claims’.
Speaking after Saturday’s counter-protest march ended in Cornhill, Lincoln, Calvin Bissitt, secretary of Lincoln and District Trades Council, said those marching were in support of refugees and opposed attempts to apportion blame to asylum seekers.
While the counter-demonstration was not supporting the use of Scampton to house asylum-seekers, it sought to make clear that refugees should be made welcome in the UK.
‘Refugees fought and died in the skies of Britain,’ Mr Bissitt said.
‘I think nothing is a greater insult to them and their legacy than to allow the far right… to allow them to speak as if they care about the heritage and the legacy of the RAF.’
Around 10 police officers were briefly forced to form a cordon between the counter-demonstrators and far-right rally, at which ex-solider and former Patriotic Alternative activist Alek Yerbury was the main speaker.
Mr Yerbury told a small crowd standing near a bridge over the River Witham: ‘What we have shown to the Home Office, to the council and to their minions is that we see through their game.
‘We have shown them that if they are not prepared to resolve this problem, we will do it ourselves.’
Ex-solider and former Patriotic Alternative activist Alek Yerbury was the main speaker at the far-right demonstration
Protestors at the counter-rally did not support the use of Scampton to house asylum-seekers, but sought to make clear that refugees should be made welcome in the UK
Protestors at the counter-rally hold signs saying, ‘Refugees Welcome’ as they marched along
More than a hundred supporters turned out for the Stand Up To Racism protest in Lincoln
Lincolnshire Police had held talks with organisers of both events and stressed that it was the force’s duty to facilitate peaceful protest, while ensuring officers were on hand to prevent the possibility of crime or disorder occurring.
A member of Scampton Parish Council had urged people not to attend the far-right protest, saying it hijacked people’s legitimate concerns.
In a statement issued after the plans for Scampton were announced, the Home Office said it recognised the importance of the rich heritage at the base and was committed to preserving and enhancing its heritage assets, having engaged with Historic England.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12002449/Far-right-counter-protesters-clash-plan-house-2-000-asylum-seekers-Dambusters-base.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270