Protesters have staged a rally outside the offices of a weekly newspaper after what they claim was a “xenophobic” and “racist” front page story.
Between 30 and 40 demonstrators gathered outside the base of the Ayrshire Post on Tuesday afternoon to make their feelings known about the story, which appeared on the front page of last week’s edition of the newspaper.
Under the headline ‘Beggar Off,’ it claimed that beggars, including trafficked Eastern Europeans, could be earning up to £200 a day on the streets of Ayr.
However some readers objected to the language used in the story, citing examples such as the terms “roving Eastern European gangs” and “lone-wolf Scottish scroungers”. An amended version of the story published online does not contain the terms in question.
The story spawned the creation of protest group under the name Protest the Ayrshire Post: Stop Spreading Hate in Ayrshire.
More than 600 people have signed a petition calling on the Trinity Mirror-owned title to apologise for what it described as “targeting the vulnerable poor and homeless.”
A message on the group’s Facebook page reads: “This article uses nothing but xenophobic, racist and inciteful language.”
The protest group says that as a result of Tuesday’s demonstration the Post has agreed to publish a letter expressing their concerns in this week’s edition, which is due out tomorrow.
Neill Clark, who helped organise the rally, told HoldtheFrontPage: “(The story) came across as quite xenophobic in parts. The first three lines talk about ‘roving gangs of Eastern Europeans’.
“It might have been to get a reaction more than anything else, but it’s blaming homeless people when for the main with people in that situation it’s not their fault.”
He added the group, pictured below at the offices , would now await the Post’s response in this week’s edition before deciding on the next course of action.
Trinity Mirror has declined to comment on the issue. The online version of the Post’s story can be viewed here.