| ||Local leaders, MPs and councilors in Birmingham have expressed their concern ahead of a planned march by the EDL next Saturday 29th October. |
“The Unite Against Fascism group, whose supporters clashed with EDL followers during clashes in Birmingham in 2009, has also announced plans for a counter-demonstration in Birmingham on the same day.”
Over 600 EDL supporters have confirmed their attendance online on the EDL’s Facebook site.
The police have, with other similar planned demonstrations, stated that they do not have the power to ban groups from engaging in a static protest.
West Midlands police will however, be “monitoring the situation to ensure maintenance of public order and officers will be deployed throughout the city centre to provide a visible reassurance to retailers, shoppers and all those visiting Birmingham.
“Any criminal or public order offences will be robustly dealt with.”
Selly Oak MP Steve McCabe and Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood have expressed support for Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police in writing to the Home Secretary to ban the EDL protest. Mahmood described it as “just an excuse for violence.”
“We’ve had two experiences of EDL marches in Birmingham and both resulted in damage to people and property.
“Most of these protesters don’t even come from Birmingham.
“They come here and use our city as a football.
“The council and police should stand up for the people of Birmingham,” he said.
McCabe added that, “I used to say that the EDL should be allowed to demonstrate but having seen the trouble they cause, I’ve changed my mind.
“This is a rag bag of extremism looking to cause trouble and I don’t think the Birmingham people deserve it.”
In September, the Home Secretary banned an EDL march from taking place in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets after being presented with a signed petition bearing signatures of more than 25,000 local residents. A static protest was allowed to take place.
Local Labour councilor for Lozells and East Handsworth ward, Waseem Zaffar has sent an open letter to the Home Secretary calling on her to ban the march.
If you live in Birmingham and would like to contact your local councilor or MP concerning the proposed EDL march, you can find details of how to get in touch here and here.
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