Protestors clashed in Ayrshire today as right-wing group The Scottish Defence League (SDL) demonstrated against a local hotel opening its doors to refugees.

The Scottish Defence League held the demonstration' in Monkton today after claiming to have been approached by local residents who said they were unhappy that some 150 refugees were being given emergency accommodation at the nearby Adamton Country House Hotel.

However, a counter protest was organised by a cross-party collection of refugee rights activists and trade unionists.

And there was a large police presence keeping the groups apart, with some protestors requiring to be restrained by officers.

The rural premises, situated in 19.5 acres of private land, belongs to the Britannia Hotel group which has previously housed refugees at some of its hotels in England, paid for by the Home Office.

HeraldScotland: Adamton House hotel in Monkton.Picture: Colin Templeton

Adamton Country House Hotel

"This rally has been organised at the same time and place as the SDL demo because we can't allow racist organisations to intimidate people claiming refugee status," said one event circular. "We want the spirit of this rally to be positive, inclusive and pro-refugee rights."

Local activist Sarah Collins, one of the organisers of the counter-demo, said: "We do want to drown [the SDL rally] out.

"It's to show that the SDL shouldn't and can't have a racist demonstration uninterrupted. And it is also to show we should have more positive pro-refugee rights."


The Counter Demonstration

Counter demonstration organisers have been in liaison with the police over the protest, which they say does not need a council permit as it will also be "static".

Collins said: "People will have their own different reasons why they have come along. The way we are organising it is that it is not face to face, so that's why we have taken the decision to face away from them."

Scottish Refugee Council policy officer, Graham O'Neill expressed distaste at the prospect of the SDL "shouting racist abuse".

"The racism and hatred shown by this tiny minority group is just completely unacceptable and I'm sure most Scots would agree with this.

"It's appalling that people who are here seeking our protection are subjected to this but we know that groups like this don't speak for everyone in Scotland."


Police keep protestors apart

GMB Scotland told its followers on Facebook: "This protest is supported by the STUC and it is important it is well attended by trade unions so that the SDL do not think that they can gain support by focusing on the issue of refugees and asylum seekers."

The SDL, posting details of the rally on Facebook, said: "Large gangs of these young Muslim men are gathering in the village and local women and young girls have said they feel scared and intimidated. A source who works in the hotel has told us that they get three meals a day and a daily cash allowance."

The group insists that their protest was not racially motivated.


Police restrain a protestor