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Two opposing protests underway in Grantham

Two opposing protests are underway in Grantham. Around 200 members of the English Defence League are demonstrating against plans to build an Islamic Cultural Centre in Grantham. They marched into town chanting various slogans and were quickly tunnelled by police to a cordoned off area.

Just metres away members of the Grantham Solidarity Network are saying extremist views are not welcome in their town. It is estimated around 250 police officers, some drafted in from other forces, are on duty. So far the protests are passing peacefully.

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"We do not want extremism in our town" says councillor

Around 200 police officers are on duty in Grantham today as two demonstrations take place in the town in the next hour . Members of the English Defence League will be staging a protest against plans to build an Islamic Cultural Centre.

At the same time a counter demonstration by the Grantham Solidarity Network is taking place a few metres away.

"We do not want extremism in our town. Planning issues need to be decided by local people."

– Councillor Charmaine Morgan, South Kesteven District Council

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Campaign group supports counter far-right demonstration in Lincoln

A campaign group behind last month's march against racism in Lincoln has expressed its support for a similar counter-protest which is to be held in Grantham later today.

"We are delighted to support today's counter-protest and we hope that some of our supporters will be taking part. Grantham Solidarity Netwok are making history today in organising against the far-right threat in their town."

– Nick Parker, Lincoln Against Racism and Fascism

Grantham Solidarity Network was set up in February 2014 by Grantham residents to oppose the EDL presence in the Lincolnshire town.

Expect minor disruptions during Grantham rallies

There will be an increased police presence in Grantham today with a rally being staged by the English Defence League against plans for an Islamic Centre in the town - and a counter demonstration.

The EDL event will commence at around 1.30pm in Westgate near to the Blue Bull public house and the group will then proceed to St Peters Hill near the Guildhalll for a static rally.

The opposing group will hold a static meeting nearby on Avenue Road starting at around 1pm. Both protests should be over by 3pm.

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Police prepare for EDL march in Grantham

The English Defence League plan to march through Grantham today over plans to build a new Islamic Centre in the town. There will also be a counter demonstration.

The EDL will march at 1.30pm in Westgate near to the Blue Bell pub and move towards St Peter's Hill where they will hold a static rally.

The opposing group will hold a static meeting nearby on The Avenue starting at around 1300hrs.

The protests should finish at 3pm.

Hopes for calm during Grantham EDL rally

Lincolnshire police are hoping for calm in Grantham tomorrow as the English Defence League stages a rally against plans for an Islamic Centre in the town. The EDL wants to prevent the centre being built, claiming it will attract extremists.

But a local residents' group say they welcome diversity. Officers will be brought in from surrounding counties to ensure the EDL rally, and a counter demonstration, remain peaceful. Victoria Whittam reports.

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