Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

May authorises marches ban in city

Police said they were still planning for a demonstration by a right-wing group and their opponents - despite Home Secretary Theresa May authorising a blanket ban on marches in the city.

The English Defence League (EDL) had intended to demonstrate in Bradford on Saturday August 28, and Unite Against Fascism has planned a protest in the city on the same day.

Earlier, Home Secretary Theresa May authorised a blanket ban on marches in the city. Despite the ban, groups could still hold static demonstrations in Bradford.

The proposed demonstration has raised fears of serious disorder in the city and a possible repeat of the devastating 2001 riots. Some commentators said the demonstration was an attempt to provoke trouble in a city still recovering from the riots that followed an attempted march by the National Front.

Police and council chiefs welcomed the decision by the Home Secretary, but warned of a possible static demonstration. A joint statement was issued by Tony Reeves, chief executive of Bradford Council and Assistant Chief Constable Mark Gilmore of West Yorkshire Police.

It said: "Even though the Home Secretary has given her consent it does not prevent any static demonstrations taking place, which are still lawful provided they remain peaceful, as we have no legal powers to prevent them. The police and the council have been working together closely for some time to plan for and manage any static demonstrations.

"Local people can have confidence in the police and the council maintaining public safety on the day and can be reassured that the city will be returned to normal very quickly after any static demonstrations."

The decision by Bradford Council to seek a marching ban followed a formal request by West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison. Sir Norman said he was taking the action after considering the "understandable concerns of the community".

A 10,000-signature petition opposing the EDL march was handed in to the Home Office earlier this month. A spokesman for the Hope Not Hate campaign welcomed the Home Secretary's ban but also warned of the static demonstration taking place.

He said: "While there is still the probability of a static protest, the fact that the EDL will not be allowed to march through predominantly Asian areas of the city, as they had intended, must be welcomed."


From Belfast Telegraph