‘Hundreds’ to attend protest

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Organisers are expecting hundreds of supporters to gather in Spalding for this weekend’s anti-immigration protest.

Following the “rock star” welcome given to UKIP leader Nigel Farage in Boston last week, they hope residents will take the opportunity to voice their own concerns.

The protest is taking place in the Market Place on Sunday from 2pm to 3pm.

Dean Everitt, who organised a similar protest in Boston in November last year and has spearheaded the Spalding event, heard Mr Farage speak during his visit.

Mr Everitt said: “UKIP is the only party left singing from the same hymn sheet.

“We would like Spalding people who have had enough of not being able to find work and with genuine issues to take the chance and support the protest to air their views.”

During Mr Farage’s visit he told the Spalding Guardian he fully understood why an immigration protest was being held in the town.

He said: “We won’t be there but we fully sympathise with protestors. Our focus is on the elections because we feel it’s important that the message of ‘enough is enough’ gets to those in power.”

In spite of claims UKIP was not taking an active part, their candidate for Spalding South in the forthcoming Lincolnshire County Council elections Alan Jesson has been with Mr Everitt during negotiations with police to ensure the protest is peaceful.

Peter Bird, chairman of UKIP South Holland and The Deepings Branch, said Mr Jesson’s involvement was of a personal nature.

Mr Bird said: “Mr Jesson is an ex-police officer and went along to help organisers during discussions with the police. The UKIP party is not involved.”

However, in spite of the Spalding Guardian being unable to contact him, Mr Jesson has not been hiding his views on the Spalding Immigration Issues Facebook page.

In one of his comments he said: “If they work hard pay tax stay on the right side of the law and have sufficient funds to pay their way then maybe some can stay. Others no chance.”

Opposition to protests of this nature is growing ahead of the next one planned for Wisbech on Saturday, May 18.

Moulton poet and activist Benjamin Zephaniah has pledged his support to an opposition group, We Are Wisbech.

He said: “After years of fighting racism against black and Asian people I am horrified to see the way that some people are treating immigrants from eastern Europe.

“It is racism and xenophobia and I am opposed to all forms of racism and xenophobia. Britain is a multicultural place and always has been.”

A Connecting Communities event celebrating the town’s cultural diversity is also taking place on the Friday before at Springfields in Spalding.

Police will be present at the Spalding protest in case there is any trouble.

Insp Jim Tyner said: “Lincolnshire Police and South Holland District Council have been working with the protest organisers to ensure they hold a peaceful protest.

“This event is being policed by local officers and anyone intent on causing disruption or public disorder will be dealt with swiftly and robustly. It will be business as usual in Spalding on the day’.”