Organisers of a peaceful event in Lincoln which promotes support for refugees say they are “surprised” by threats made by an English Defence League supporter of a 150-people-strong gatecrash.
The Compassionate Lincoln event takes place at Lincoln Drill Hall on September 26 from 5pm.
Those attending will hear real-life experiences of those who have sought refuge, and share their own thoughts and ideas on the current crisis.
Support for the event has snowballed, with many in Lincoln launching their own petitions to help refugees and hosting collection points in the city.
An EDL supporter has on Thursday, September 24 contacted The Lincolnite with claims that around 150 people from various locations will be demonstrating outside the Drill Hall from 5.30pm.
The man, who did not leave a name, said: “The EDL demonstration will be against immigration and there will be around 150 people attending from all over.
“We’ll be outside the Drill Hall from 5.30pm.”
The threat has however been disputed by Paul Whiteside, who runs the Lincolnshire EDL branch.
Paul has also been in conversations with the organisers of the event.
He said: “The threat has not come from us. It seems to me like one or two individuals trying to stir trouble. It is very unlikely that that many EDL supporters would be in Lincoln on Saturday as most of the people I know are at a wedding.
“There is no official EDL demo planned on Saturday. I know a couple of people are going to the event to listen to what is said and to voice their views, but they are not going to stir trouble.
“I have a few ideas who is behind the threat but I can guarantee it’s not us.”
Organiser Charlotte Kemp explained that she has been in conversations with EDL representatives from Lincolnshire, who assured her there would be no demonstrations at the event.
She said: “What we are trying to do is look at a range of social issues that affect our city. The refugee crisis requires an urgent response and there are people that are willing and ready to offer support for people that do come to the city.
“It seems strange that anybody would want to oppose that as a principle and from the conversations that we’ve had with the EDL in Lincolnshire, whilst we recognise that we have different views and different approaches to dealing with the issue, they’ve been really open.
“We’ve been encouraged by the time they have given us in terms of helping to understand our position.
“My understanding is that this is not how they feel about this event. I’d be surprised if this is a threat from the people that I’ve been speaking to.
“Everyone has a right to their own opinion. I would encourage people to think about how they can make the most positive contribution to the community.
“We are already full to capacity at around 60 people which is fantastic. People will still be able to follow the event however on social media using #CompassionateLincoln.”
Lincolnshire Police are aware of the claims.