Far-right protesters including Paul Golding - the leader of Britain First - have gathered outside The Britania Hotel in Standish, Wigan in response to an incident involving asylum seekers and a schoolgirl.
Protesters held England and Union Jack flags, played music and there was a large police presence. A 12-year-old girl was allegedly winked at, filmed and there was an attempt to grab her. But police said no crime had been committed according to a widely shared social media post shared by the girl’s mother.
In a recent report by The Wigan Observer a local resident said “The last thing we want is all the right-wing thugs using this as an excuse to bring their toxic messages to Wigan again and whipping up racism.” The hotel houses 200 asylum seekers who were placed there by Serco in mid-July.
The far-right held a similar protest outside last weekend which Golding also attended. An anti-racist campaigner who was watching from nearby said "I'm surprised he's back in Wigan, I thought he would have learned his lesson coming here".
He referred to an incident in 2014 where Golding and far-right protesters were outnumbered by anti-fascist activists and had to flee Wigan. Golding was photographed hiding in a shop owned by Asians.
Golding was recently convicted under terrorism laws for failing to give the police the codes to an iPhone and an Apple computer. He was accused of violently abusing his former partner Jayda Fransen in 2019, which he admitted in a secret video recording.
Stand Up To Racism Wigan issued a statement on today's far-right protest. "S.U.T.R condemns the opportunism of Fascist Britain First looking to scapegoat a group of vulnerable people who literally have nothing".