Published on 10 August 2004
UP to 100 members of the National Front will be protesting outside Oakington Immigration Centre on Saturday.
Asylum demo: Protests at Oakington
Protesters from East Anglia will demonstrate outside the centre, before moving into Cambridge to distribute leaflets.
They are protesting against the increase in asylum seekers in Britain and the centres, like Oakington, which house them.
Tom Holmes, chair of the party, said: "The demonstration will bring people's attention to the National Front and the asylum situation in general."
Paul Blackham, a member of the National Front, said he hoped there would be around 100 people at the demonstration.
He added: "We don't want an immigration centre in Oakington."
A police spokeswoman confirmed the police knew about the protest.
She was unable to say how many officers would be attending the event but said it would be sufficient to cope with the demand.
A spokesman from the centre said: "We are not aware this demonstration is planned but it would be something that would be handled by the police."
National Front: Police aware of plans
"Alex Riley, chairman of Longstanton Parish Council, said: "The council and the people of Oakington in general would not support the activities of the National Front.
I would assume they would be people imported from elsewhere coming to demonstrate."
The immigration centre, on the former site of Oakington barracks, provides 400 spaces for asylum seekers. It was opened because there was not sufficient room at harbours and airports to accommodate the large number of people seeking asylum in Britain.
The centre had previously been due to close in November this year but will now stay open until the end of December 2006.
Anti-fascist group to launch counter protest
Published on 13 August 2004
ANTI-Nazi campaigners are planning a counter-protest to the National Front demonstration outside Oakington Immigration Centre tomorrow.
About 50 members and supporters of Cambridge Unite Against Fascism (CUAF) plan to gather at the same time as the expected 100-strong National Front demonstration.
CUAF is angry that the right-wing group has latched on to immigration issues surrounding Oakington.
A spokesman for CUAF, who did not want to be named, said: "People are outraged about the National Front's protest.
"If we can get a good crowd together we can show that the people of Cambridge have no interest in their politics of hate.
"We want to show that people in Cambridge do not want the National Front around. There is not any support for them in Cambridge. Their politics have never had a foothold here."
The spokesman said he did not think trouble would flare and doubted the National Front's hope to attract 100 people would be realised.
A National Front spokesman said: "We live in a free community and they can do what they like, as long as it's peaceful.
"They are silly people who are wasting their time and should find something better to do.
"We are a legitimate party going to stage a legitimate protest. We have informed the police and are not going to cause trouble."
A spokeswoman for Cambridgeshire police said: "We have been made aware that the anti-Nazi group may make a rival protest. We will take this into account and any policing will be done accordingly."
Alex Riley, chairman of Longstanton Parish Council, said there was no official council view on protests, but added: "I am sure I speak for the whole village when I say that we do not wish to see protests taking place outside the centre.
"In fairness to CUAF, they are only there because the National Front has chosen to go there in the first place. Residents do not want any trouble."
The National Front plans to protest against what it claims is an increase in asylum seekers in Britain and at centres, like Oakington, which house them.