Large police presence for asylum protests in Skegness

It could have been a scene from any carnival day in Skegness.
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Families lined the streets having heard there was going to be a procession.

However this was no carnival - Enough is Enough campaigners were back in town protesting against the continued use of hotels for asylum seekers.

There was anticipation at Skegness Railway Station before noon, with a large presence of police but no protesters having shown their faces with just minutes to go before the scheduled start.

Enough is Enough protesters ahead of their march in Skegness.Enough is Enough protesters ahead of their march in Skegness.
Enough is Enough protesters ahead of their march in Skegness.

However, they had met at the Lumley pub opposite and eventually around 50 protestors rallied in the railway station yard ahead of marching down Lumley Road and along the seafront.

Scott Pittsey, of Enough is Enough, told Lincolnshire World: "We are back because we are sick of seeing the way the country is going, we are sick of people being told there is no money for schools, no money for the NHS but they can house illegal immigrants.

"We have to keep protesting. We have to keep going and show the Government we have had enough."

As the protestors marched along Lumley Road gathering more supporters along the way many onlookers clapped - one mum even encouraging her toddler in a pushchair to applaud them.

Lincolnshire World saw no scenes like last time where members of the public shouted 'We don't want you here'.

There had been concerns that people might stay away in spite of it being a Bank Holiday fearing there might be trouble.

However, one retired couple on holiday sat watching at the railway station admitted they agreed with what was being said by protesters.

The man, aged 69, said he wanted to retire but because of the cost of living crisis he was having to work three days a week. His wife sad she had recently had a back operation and should have taken 10 weeks off work but could only afford two.

"The country is paying for asylum seekers who get everything and we can't afford to live," she said. "It's not right."

There was some opposition, though. Along the seafront outside a hotel housing asylum seekers was another protest group organised by Lincoln TUC.

Supporters of Stand Up to Racism, they had been in Lincoln last weekend taking part in rallies by anti-immigration campaigners and anti-racism protesters, prompt by government plans for RAF Scampton.

Gavyn Graham of Lincoln TUC said they were there to show solidarity to the asylum seekers.

"Lincoln TUC condemn any rally in Skegness and attempts to stoke up hatred against refugees fleeing war or oppression by their own governments.

"The response we got from a recent leaflet drop in Skegness is that locals don't want racism in their town.

"We are here to form a solidarity shield around the asylum seekers' hotels.

"When we attempted to countermarch alongside Enough is Enough we were turned back by police.

"But overall we are pleased with the response to our visit."

Also unhappy were a couple sat outside Natureland, where Enough is Enough protesters stopped for speeches and to address those who had joined the procession along the way, including once person on crutches and at least two on mobility scooters.

"I'd like to know how much these police cost," said the man.

"We don't usually see this many in town."

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