POLICE will be maintaining presence in a former pit village when opposing demonstrations are staged over plans for Muslim education centre at the weekend.

County Durham Unites Against Racism and the Tyne & Wear Anti-Fascist Association (TWAFA) have said they will hold a peaceful counter-demonstration in Shotton Colliery, near Peterlee, to protest against the English Defence League (EDL) and North East Infidels (NEI) demonstration on Saturday (November 9).

It is the second time the EDL and NEI have demonstrated in the village over plans to open a Muslim education centre.

A Durham Police spokesman said today (Thursday, November 7): “We are aware of a planned EDL protest and counter-protest by TWAFA on Saturday in Shotton Colliery.

“We have resources in place and are working hard to ensure minimum disruption to the local community and that normality is restored as quickly as possible once the protest is over.

“We have a duty to allow peaceful protest and protect all those present at the event.”

In December last year, about 200 EDL supporters converged on Shotton Colliery to protest plans by local businessman, Kaiser Choudry’s to turn a former The Melrose Arms pub into a Muslim education centre.

Planning permission has since been granted to the facility, which plans to be open to all residents of the community. However, the centre remains closed.

The counter-demonstrators will meet at 1pm while the EDL plan to assemble on the village green at Potto Street at 1.30pm.