English Defence League organisers have said today’s protest rally in Grantham was “a brilliant day.”
Speaking outside the headquarters for the day, the Blue Bull pub in Westgate, regional organiser for East Anglia, Glen, wearing his trademark deerstalker hat, said: “This has been a brilliant day for the EDL.
“We must have had 200 to 250 supporters here and that’s been one of our best turnouts for a long time. I said at the rally, and it’s true: We are like cancer, we are growing and we will not go away.”
He continued: “It was unfortunate that we didn’t get a PA system, but the council asked us not to and we respected that. If we had one, instead of a megaphone, more people would have got our message.
“Having said that, the turnout from Grantham people was great. We had a lot of support today and I’d like to say thanks for that.
“And the police have been brilliant. They allowed us to do what we wanted to do. I cannot praise them enough.”
That was echoed by Lincolnshire division organiser Alan Phoenix, from Swineshead, Boston, who said: “We said it would be peaceful and we kept our promise. We did not cause any trouble at all.
“We have come here and put Grantham on the map. We have highlighted the issue. There is not a demand for an Islamic centre in this town.
“The police have been brilliant. I cannot praise them enough for the way they have handled this. And we had a lot of support from the people of Grantham. It’s been a brilliant, brilliant day for us.”
There were no arrests and only a brief skirmish on St Peter’s Hill which was controlled by a combination of police and EDL stewards.
The police escorted the EDL from the pub to the town centre rally - which lasted 45 minutes and consisted of four speeches - and then back again.
EDL chants of “No surrender” “Whose streets? Our streets” “England til I die” and a song about murdered soldier Lee Rigby were heard along Wharf Road before the marchers turned into Wide Westgate, where the pub is situated.