English Defence League march in Leicester banned

4th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Home secretary authorises blanket ban on marches in the city this Saturday, including planned protest by far-right groupThe home secretary, Theresa May, today authorised a ban on a planned march by far-right group the English Defence League EDL, due to take place in Leicester on Saturday.The blanket ban prevents any marches in the city over the weekend, although it does not prevent groups holding "static demonstrations."A Home Office spokesman said: "Having carefully balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected, the home secretary gave her consent to a Leicester City Council Order banning any marches in the city on October 9."It is the second time in the past two months that an EDL march has been banned. In August, the home secretary ruled that the organisation could not stage a march in Bradford. However, about 700 EDL supporters staged a "static demonstration" which was marred by violence and racist chanting.The Home Office spokesman added: "Leicestershire Constabulary are committed to using their powers to ensure communities and properties are protected and we encourage all local people to work with the police to ensure community cohesion is not undermined by public disorder."Leicester city council applied for the ban at the request of the police after formal notification was received that both the EDL and Unite Against Fascism intended to march in the city.Sheila Lock, Leicester city council's chief executive, welcomed the ban, adding: "Even though the home secretary has given her consent it does not prevent any static protests taking place, which are still lawful provided they remain peaceful, as we, nor the police, have legal powers to prevent them."Chief superintendent Rob Nixon, commander of policing in the city, said: "The police and council have been working together closely for some time to plan for and manage any static protests. We shall do everything possible to ensure that any protests on October 9 remain peaceful and pose the least amount of disruption possible for those not involved in the protests."The decision to ban the EDL march follows an ongoing campaign by anti-racism group Hope not Hate as well as faith and community groups in Leicester.The EDL formed in Luton last year and has become the most significant far-right street movement in the UK since the National Front in the 1970s.It claims to be a peaceful, non-racist organisation opposed only to "militant Islam". But many of its demonstrations have ended in confrontations with the police after some supporters became involved in violence, as well as racist and Islamophobic chanting.In May the Guardian revealed that the EDL was planning to step up its Islamophobic street campaign, targeting Tower Hamlets in London and Bradford.English Defence LeagueBritish identity and societyThe far rightTheresa MayMatthew Taylorguardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010 Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions More Feeds

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