Alan Phoenix, Lincs regional organiser of the English Defence league, said today’s demonstation in Grantham would be peaceful.
“I’ve been to loads of these rallies and never seen any trouble,” he said. “And I don’t expect any today. It’s a nice day, isn’t it?”
He was speaking outside the Blue Bull pub in Westgate, where around 70 supporters had gathered, watched by police and a number of specators.
Beer was being drunk in the street and the noise levels lifted when a coach pulled up with about 20 more supporters, carrying flags, cans of beer and singing protest songs. Some were giving the Winston Churchill V-sign to police and onloookers.
Mr Phoenix, from Swineshead, near Boston, said: “I expect about 250-300 here today. We don’t think there should be a big Ismalic centre in Grantham and that’s what we are protesting about.
“Less than eight per cent of people around here are Muslim, but if this gets built, it will attract people from a much wider area, like Leicester and Nottingham, to come to Grantham. We don’t want to see this education centre of Islam in Grantham.”
Grantham Muslim Community Association want to build a new centre of education and worship on Mowbeck Way, off Alexandra Road, Grantham.
EDL will march to St Peter’s Hill in the centre of town for a rally. They will be met by a newly-formed group, Grantham Solidarity Network, who have promised a quiet and peaceful gathering.
One of the organisers, Charmaine Morgan, said: “It would be wrong to not make any comment at all about the EDL march.”