Peterlee Star | Thursday, 22 November 2012 | Click here for original article
Far-right extremists will descend on Shotton Colliery next month to protest over plans to turn a former pub into a Muslim education centre.
Members of the English Defence League (EDL) will hold what they say will be the “first of many” regional demonstrations in the village.
It comes after, the EDL says, residents contacted the organisation after Durham County Council passed plans to turn the former Melrose Arms pub into a Muslim educational centre in May.
The EDL says it will be supported by other Defence Leagues and North East Infidels during the demonstration, on December 1.
EDL regional organiser Alan Spence told the Star: “We can confirm that this demo will be the first of many in Shotton Colliery until the council listen to the local residents and refuse planning permission for this Muslim education centre that the local community does not want, or need.
“We have contacted Durham Constabulary and are working with them to ensure that this protest remains peaceful with minimal disruption to the local community.”
But Easington MP Grahame Morris said: “It’s outrageous that people are stirring up feelings in this way. These are just ordinary Muslims in the community, it’s ludicrous to try and stir up feelings in this fashion.”
A spokeswoman for Durham Police said: “We are aware that this event is being held and are drawing up plans to ensure it goes ahead peacefully and lawfully for the safety of all involved and for the wider community of Shotton.”