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English Defence League supporters plan second Deeside demonstration

Shotton march, January

CAMPAIGNERS for far-right group the English Defence League are planning to hold a second protest ‘against militant Islam’ in Deeside next month.

Plans have been unveiled on social networking website Facebook for the demonstration, scheduled for Saturday, May 21, in Shotton.

Although the protest – organised by the Deeside ‘division’ of the extreme group – is yet to be deemed an official one by the EDL, members from Chorley and Blackburn have already indicated they are joining the march.

More than 100 EDL supporters marched through Shotton town centre in January to protest against Flintshire Muslim Cultural Society’s (FMCS) plans to build an Islamic cultural centre at the site of the old Shotton Lane Social Club, which was later burnt down by arsonists.

And organisers are keen for an even bigger turnout this time.

Graham Bishop, the creator of the EDL Deeside division Facebook page, said on his website that the aim this time is for ‘a peaceful protest against militant Islam and to spread the word that Deeside doesn’t want a mosque/learning centre’.

He added: "We want to stop the spread of Islam in our town before it gets chance to grow."

FMCS is currently looking at alternative sites in Flintshire to base its centre.

Also planning to attend next month’s demonstration are Chester-based members of new far-right group the North West Infidels.

Community leaders have spoken of their anger and disappointment at the news of the EDL’s second march.

Alyn and Deeside MP Mark Tami told the Chronicle: "This organisation represents anger, bitterness and division.

"Their presence in Deeside has no positive contributions and I would urge the good people of this area to reject what they stand for."

Shotton Town Council chairman John Beard said: "I am appalled that they want to bring these people here for another protest – what good will this achieve?

"The fear is they have been here before and shortly afterwards we had trouble with the Shotton Lane Social Club fire."

Shotton councillor Dave Evans said: "Last time we had the protest there were people here saying we did not need these people here.

"There was a lot of anger about what was going on."

Campaign group Unite Against Fascism’s spokesman, Martin Smith, added: "We don’t know which organisation is really behind this as it’s unofficial, but this group is only helping to create further tensions within Shotton.

"I think it’s time to say ‘enough is enough’."

North Wales Police Superintendent Dave Owens said: "We are aware of the planned action and will be speaking to the organisers between now and May 21 with a view to minimising any disruption to the community."