A HUGE gathering of Muslims in Southampton has been cancelled due to escalating racial tensions after the EU Referendum.

Thousands of Muslims were due to gather in the city's East Park to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Up to 2,000 people were expected to attend what would have been Southampton's first outdoor prayer for Eid.

But the British Bangladeshi Cultural Academy, which organised the event, have cancelled it after two rival demonstrations were planned in the city in the wake of the Brexit vote.

As reported in the Daily Echo, two demonstrations are set to take place this weekend, one by members of a far-right group, and the other from anti-racist and pro-refugee groups.

Members of the far-right group South Coast Resistance and the Pie and Mash Squad say they will hold a demonstration outside the Bargate at noon on Saturday, July 2 and have said on social media to “join us to celebrate Brexit and an end to mass immigration”.

Daily Echo:

PICTURED: Shere Sattar

They have also put up posts saying “no more refugees”.

A number of groups such as Refugees Welcome and Southampton AntiFa will hold a counter-demonstration, starting at 11am at the monument.

Shere Sattar, chairman of the British Bangladesh Cultural Academy, said: "Considering the political situation and unrest in UK after leaving the EU, the rise of racist activity and comments around other cities around the country, and Pie and Mash deciding to visit Southampton on July 2, 2016, we British Bangladeshi Cultural Academy with other organisations have decided that for the good for all communities in our city it would be best if we cancel the huge gathering in the city park for Eidul Fitre prayer."

Mr Sattar added that although the gathering for Eid prayer has been cancelled, which has been due to take place on July 4 and 5, they hope to hold other events in Southampton later this year.

He said: "We are positive that by September we are hoping all those activities would be at rest, so that we can continue with our normal lives and community activities without any interruptions.

"We urge everyone to be at their best in this un-restful time in the country we all should contribute everything we can to keep our city and the community safe."

Police have said they are aware of the demonstrations and are planning carefully to ensure those taking part can do so without the need for police intervention and to make sure the event is peaceful.

Southampton’s communities chief, Satvir Kaur, said she had received reports of racist abuse aimed at Polish and Asian residents after the referendum and there have been reports of racially aggravated abuse across the UK in the wake of the vote to leave the EU.

But police have say they have recorded less reports of hate crime in the week after the referendum than those before.

For the week June 20 to June 26, with the referendum taking place on June 23, 42 hate crimes were recorded, against 54 the previous week.

Police received two reports on Monday, June 27.

In the previous two weeks there were 50 (May 30 - June 5) and 52 (June 6 - June 12) recorded.