February 24, 2023 2.53 pm This story is over 14 months old

Lincoln union says ‘refugees welcome here, but not racists’

Tensions have risen over hotels housing asylum seekers

A Lincoln union has accused the organisers of protest against Skegness asylum seeker hotels as being a “Nazi organisation”.

The Lincoln and District Trades Council has joined the Home Office in condemning the event, calling it a “cynical attempt to use racism to divide the Skegness community”.

The “Enough is Enough” static protest, which is being co-ordinated by far-right organisation The Patriotic Alternative, will take place on Saturday, February 25.

A similar protest in Knowsley saw 15 arrests recently, although organisers insist the Skegness event will be a “peaceful demonstration”.

Metal barriers have already been erected outside some of the hotels housing asylum seekers in Skegness ahead of the demo.

Lincoln and District Trades Council said: “The shocking violent scenes last week at Knowsley must not be allowed to be repeated in Skegness or anywhere else.

“It’s a cynical attempt to use racism to divide the Skegness community and encourage hatred against refugees fleeing war, persecution, climate catastrophes and in the process seeking a better life for themselves and their families.

The housing has proved controversial in Skegness, with hundreds attending a public meeting. | Photo: LDRS/The Lincolnite

“Refugees and migrants are not the cause of the cost-of-living crisis, low pay, job and public service cuts or the crisis in the NHS. The Tories are shamefully trying to divide working people by blaming refugees and migrants in an attempt to deflect from their own corruption, sleaze, naked profiteering and disastrous mishandling of the pandemic.

“Lincoln and District Trades Council stands in solidarity with refugees and anti-racist campaigners in Skegness and the rest of Lincolnshire. Refugees are welcome here, but racists and Nazi’s are not.”

The Patriotic Alternative describe themselves as a “community building and activism group” which founded in September 2019 by Mark Collett.

It claims: “Our aim is to raise awareness of issues such as the demographic decline of native Britons in the United Kingdom, the environmental impact of mass immigration and the indoctrination and political bias taking place in British schools.”

The group told The Lincolnite: “Patriotic Alternative stands with Skegness against the government’s replacement agenda and the prioritisation of economic migrants over the needs of the community.

“Any tensions surrounding these hotels have been caused by the politicians refusing to listen to the people, who have consistently asked for lower immigration.”

The protest has also caused concern to some hotel owners, as well as local residents including a woman called Judy who has lived in Skegness for 40 years.

Judy told BBC Look North: “I just don’t like the way the town is now being represented as racist because I don’t think we are.” When asked how that makes her feel, she added: “It makes me feel ashamed. I don’t want to really live where people are acting like this.”

The protest was previously condemned by the Home Office who accused organisers of attempting to “fuel resentment” towards those seeking refuge.

Skegness MP Matt Warman also condemned far-right groups of “shamelessly” exploiting concerns over asylum seekers in hotels.

Lincolnshire Police said there hasn’t been a rise in crime in Skegness, despite online fearmongering. This is after unconfirmed claims circulated in Facebook groups about disorder which is blamed on the temporary migrants.

Superintendent Pat Coates also said: “We recognise that it is a contentious issue and there are some genuine concerns amongst the community, but clearly for Saturday we want people to attend it, have their speeches, but please do it in a peaceful way.”

Meanwhile, the Facebook group ‘Skegness Vent’, where there has been frequent discussion of the protest, announced that it was being paused and would “be back in a few days”.

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