POLICE will be in Durham to ensure demonstrations between opposing far right activists and anti-racists passes peacefully this weekend.

Bishop Auckland Against Islam announced it will join the North East Infidels for a protest in Millennium Place at 1pm, on Saturday, in response to the provision of housing for Syrian refugees in the county.

They will be opposed by the County Durham Anti-Racist Coalition and Unite Against Fascism North East.

The protests come on a day when the city is expected to be busy with Christmas shoppers and families.

Chief Inspector Catherine Clarke, from Durham Constabulary, said: “There will be a policing response in relation to the planned protest and counter protest which will take place in Durham City on Saturday.

“Police have been in contact with representatives from both sides who have been cooperative and positive in their approach to the event.

“Our response will be one of safeguarding the rights of those involved in the event, and those who will be affected by it.

“We will also work to minimise the risk of crime and disorder linked to the event.”

Durham County Council is hoping to resettle up to 100 additional Syrian refugees in a bid to help more people rebuild their lives in the North-East.

Durham Humanitarian Support Partnership, which was formed in September 2015 in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, has already helped to resettle 92 people fleeing conflict. About 17 families are now living in County Durham through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

The partnership, which is chaired by Durham County Council, had initially pledged to home 200 people between 2016 and 2020.

It is now hoping to extend that to between 250 and 300.

In a Facebook post, the County Durham Anti-Racist Coalition Unite Against Fascism North East said: "It has come to our attention that the far right North East Infidels, alongside Bishop Auckland Against Islam, intend to hold a march and rally in Durham city centre on the 25th of November.

"They seem to trying to whip up some hate over accommodation being offered to Syrian refugees in the Durham area.

"Anti-racists in Durham are organising a peaceful counter-demo, making it very clear that we will not allow racism to parade through our city unchallenged and declaring our support for refugees fleeing persecution and violence. Everyone deserves decent housing and safety."