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Decency & humanity drown out angry bald bloke and his gobby blonde pal; REFUGEES RACIST PROTEST ENDS UP A DAMP SQUIB Rival groups square up to each other.

Byline: a.brown@dailyrecord.co.uk ANNIE BROWN

A RIGHT-WING protest against asylum seekers in a Scots town fell flat yesterday as only a handful turned up.

And the bigots of the Scottish Defence League were heavily outnumbered by a counter-demonstration of anti-racists in Monkton, near Ayr.

The neo-Nazi SDL had planned their first public demo in two years in the town, near where the Home Office have placed 150 asylum seekers in the Adamton Country House Hotel.

But they mustered fewer than 30 at the height of the protest, with a bald man and a blonde woman at the forefront, yelling slogans of hate.

On the other side, there was a 200-strong group made up of prorefugee groups, Labour and SNP activists and anti-fascist organisations.

On posts whipping up support for their racist cause, the SDL referred to the asylum seekers as "secret, dark-skinned African males" who could be "murderers, rapists or paedophiles in their own country".

The SDL demonstration was originally cancelled because of some light rain but when it dried, up a few stragglers made it along.

The first five to arrive at the meeting point found themselves protected by a ring of police as opponents chanted: "There are many more of us than you."

An hour later, another two dozen right-wing extremists arrived, including skinheads wearing camouflage and there were scuffles as police tried to separate the two sides.

The skinheads claimed the asylum seekers were "bombers" and should be sent back.

One of them, a Pole who said he was called Scott and lived in Mauchline, Ayrshire, claimed it was OK for him to be in Britain because he was "legal".

Three weeks ago, 150 asylum seekers were bussed by the Home Office into Adamton House from the north-west of England, bypassing the Scottish Government, the local authority and community.

Although the SDL said they were there to support residents of Monkton, several from the town joined the counter-protest.

Sarah Collins, one of the organisers of the anti-racist coalition, said the poor show by the SDL illustrated the lack of support for them.

But she said: "It is important to demonstrate against them, especially when they are protesting against such vulnerable people as asylum seekers."

Police said there were two arrests for public order offences.

The Scottish Refugee Council say Adamton House is not suitable for vulnerable asylum seekers, as it is two miles from the town, leaving them completely isolated.

The asylum seekers are kept in a separate block, are not allowed to use the majority of hotel facilities and are discouraged from using the grounds.

ISLAND PREPARES FOR SYRIANS ISLANDERS are preparing to welcome 15 Syrian families into their community.

Shopkeepers in Rothesay on Bute are stocking their shelves with products which will make the newcomers feel more at home while locals are collecting clothes and furnishings for their new neighbours.

The first UK charter flight of Syrian refugees is expected to arrive in Glasgow tomorrow after the UK Government vowed to take in 1000 people by the end of this year.

Around 40 per cent of the first arrivals will come to Scotland.

The Rothesay arrivals will be families with an average of two adults and three children and will significantly boost the island's single-figure Muslim population.

The Co-op is sourcing products for the families as the local butcher is too small to extend to a halal meat section.

Basic furnishings will be provided by the Home Office, but local people have organised collections for other items.

Humza Yousaf, the chair of the Scottish Government's refugee task force, said: "There will inevitably be bumps and niggles on the road, but we have all the players round the table.

"A key focus of the task force was the understanding that we need to get into the grassroots of communities to ensure once refugees move in, they are welcomed by their neighbours."

CAPTION(S):

WELCOME Anti-racist

MINISTER Yousaf

CHEERLEADER OF HATE Two of the handful of SDL protesters

COALITION Some of the hundreds of supporters turning out to oppose the SDL's protest

CORDON The SDL group surrounded by police
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Nov 16, 2015
Words:685
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