Spalding officers to police Lincoln anti-mosque protest

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Spalding officers have been drafted in to help with a major policing operation at an anti-mosque protest in Lincoln today (Saturday).

Hundreds of protestors from a group called East Anglian Patriots, thought to be an off-shoot of the English Defence League (EDL), are set to gather in Lincoln from 1pm to protest against the mosque set to be built in Lincoln on the former site of the Boultham dairy.

A demonstration calling for “unity against racism” will also take place at the same time at Cornhill Square off Lincoln High Street, where dozens of people are expected to oppose the anti-mosque protest.

In spite of organisers intending the protests to be static and peaceful, officers from around the county have been drafted in to support city police.

The number of reported Islamophobic attacks since the Woolwich murder has continued to rise dramatically amid warnings from Muslim community leaders that the backlash which has seen attempted firebombings of mosques is being fuelled by far right groups.

As participants in an English Defence League (EDL) march in Whitehall were recorded giving Nazi-style salutes, Faith Matters, which monitors anti-Muslim hatred, said the number of incidents before the end of May had risen to 193, including ten assaults on mosques.

Lincolnshire Police has said it would deal robustly with any troublemakers.

Superintendent Paul Gibson, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “We have been planning the operation for a period. There will be a heightened police presence in the city.

“It will be a community policing operation with police officers helping shoppers about their daily business and directing protestors to the agreed places where the protests are taking place.”

Sgt Stuart Hurst, of Spalding police, said residents in the town should not be concerned in spite of some officers being in Lincoln.

He said: “It will be business as usual here with the usual numbers of officers on patrol in the town.”