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17/10/2015 09:23 BST | Updated 17/10/2015 10:59 BST

Britain First Descends On Burton-Upon-Trent To Fight Plans For So-Called 'Mega Mosque'

The far-right anti-Islam group Britain First has apparently compared itself to Winston Churchill as it marches in Burton-Upon-Trent in Staffordshire to protest against the building of a new mosque.

Police estimate up to 300 people will attend the march today by the extreme group which wants to "ban all trace of Islam from the UK" according to a BBC documentary.

The pseudo-political party quoted Churchill in its plans to protest against the extension of an existing mosque in the town to create the 'biggest and best mosque in Europe'.

A counter demonstration is being staged at the same time and local church leaders have criticised the protest by the so-called 'Christian' group and said they are "disturbed" by its intentions.

mosque

The mosque in Uxbridge Street will be knocked down and enlarged

A promotional video with ominous guitar music on Britain First's Facebook page showed English flags and said "There are thousands of mosques across the UK. Burton-on-Trent is a beautiful English Town. Now they want to build a mega mosque in Burton-on-Trent."

The video quoted Winston Churchill's iconic 'We shall fight on the beaches' speech from the Second World War, saying: "We shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost."

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A scene from Britain First's video

Staffordshire Police said it would have sufficient numbers of officers on the streets for the protest from 1pm, and was aiming to minimise disruption.

The new mosque would be an enlarged version of The Central Jamia Mosque which already serves 700 worshippers at a time. Under the plans, it would increase its capacity to 1,500.

Britain First has been accused of being racist and fascist, and was the subject of a BBC Three documentary, 'We Want Our Country Back' last month.

It often protests outside mosques, and has threatened to bury a pig at the site where one was proposed, as well as mistaking a town hall in Ireland for a mosque. It recently launched a Mayor of London campaign by saying it would hang its opponents.

A letter written on behalf of 13 clergy in Burton said they disagreed with "the implication that 'Britishness' and Islam should be seen as incompatible" and noted that the march would have "a considerable level of participation from outside our area."

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Burton's market hall and outdoor market place have been closed for the demonstration. Metal barriers will be in place in some area for crowd safety and parking restrictions have been introduced in some streets.

The Central Jamia Mosque said in a statement that it wanted "to thank our fellow Burtonians and fellow citizens who have shown overwhelming support for us.

"We want to thank the Burton and Uttoxeter Quakers and also the Church of England Deanery of Tutbury who, like us support, under the law, freedom of worship and assembly.

"The people of Burton enjoy peaceful and harmonious community relations and the mosque will do all it can to ensure that that continues in the future."

Chief Inspector Steve Maskrey said: "Staffordshire Police’s top priority is the safety of the community, the demonstrators and the counter demonstrators.

"We will support and protect people’s democratic right to demonstrate peacefully, while balancing the rights of local communities, businesses and the wider public to go about their business without fear of intimidation or serious disruption to the community".