Boston protest held over immigration levels

Boston protest About 300 people gathered at the Herbert Ingram memorial for the demonstration

A protest against "high-levels" of immigration in a Lincolnshire market town has taken place.

The Boston Protest Group said the "peaceful demonstration" was aimed at highlighting the pressure put on local services by migrant workers.

About 300 people gathered at the Herbert Ingram memorial for the demonstration, which organisers said was not aimed at individuals.

An estimated 9,000 foreign workers have settled in the town in recent years.

Analysis

Protestors

In the shadow of Boston Stump with the statue of the town's former MP Herbert Ingram as a backdrop, scores of people both young and old gathered for the protest.

They held banners ranging from "Free Us From The Shackles of Europe" to "Get Back Our Country".

Many told me they felt it was a chance for them to finally air their views in public after feeling they had been ignored too long by politicians.

There were impromptu speeches on a loudspeaker from some of the crowd, while organisers stressed their beef was not with migrants themselves but with the immigration policies of successive governments.

At one point there was even a good-natured conversation between a demonstrator and a Polish man who made the point he always worked hard himself but sympathised with the protesters and wished them well.

Protest organiser Dean Everitt said: "We had a good turnout of people, the right people, and we put our point across peacefully.

"I hope national government are going to know what we've done - we'll take it to Westminster until we get this issue sorted out."

He added: "We've proved a point - we're not right-wing thugs, we're not racists, we're just everyday people that are fed up and sick to the back teeth of migration.

"I work with Polish people and even they've said there are far too many here now."

But migrant worker Martins Zagers said some English people were not prepared to work in local factories because "it was a hard job".

"I work in a factory where there are only Polish, Latvian and Lithuanians," he said.

"From my side I am working hard and I will not take benefits - I am too proud to take benefits."

A protest march planned for last year was cancelled after the borough council agreed to set up a task force.

A report on population change was published as a result, but campaigners said it had not gone "far enough" and government still needed to listen.

The Home Office said it was working to cut net migration from hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands by the end of this Parliament and its tough new rules were already taking effect.

Mr Everitt said further protests were being organised - with the next one likely to take place in Spalding.

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