A Bristol paper reports that 2,000 local people have signed a petition calling for a march planned by the English Defence League later this month to be banned by the Home Secretary, Theresa May. The action is similar to that taken last year when the Home Secretary acceded to a request by the Metropolitan Police to ban the EDL from marching through Tower Hamlets as well as four neighbouring boroughs of east London, after being urged to do so by local MPs, councillors and residents.
From The Post:
“Bristol’s cabinet councillors will be urged tonight to ask Home Secretary Theresa May to ban the English Defence League's forthcoming march through the city.
“Protesters against the march will be holding a rally outside the Council House on College Green before the cabinet meeting at 6pm.
“They will hand in a petition with 2,000 names who oppose the march and want it banned.
“The EDL, which describes itself as anti-Islamist, are due to march from Redcliffe Wharf to Queen Square at 1pm on July 14. "
Paulette North, a petition organiser who wants the same outcome as in Tower Hamlets, said that the large response to the petition shows that “the EDL are not wanted in our city”, and that "We don't want them spreading their racism and anti-Islamic filth."
The article continues, “Policing the far-right march through Bristol will cost an estimated £500,000 of council taxpayers' money and involve 1,000 police officers with some travelling from as far away as Yorkshire.
“Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said the cost would have to be paid from the Avon and Somerset constabulary's budget which is partly paid by council taxpayers and not from central Government.
“Public order officers will have riot gear to hand if violence breaks out. There will also be dog handlers, police on horseback and specialist officers.
“The police helicopter will also be used to provide officers with live TV coverage and spot any rival protests as they happen.”
EDL provocation has regularly been met with contempt by local communities. At the static demonstration in Tower Hamlets last year, after the Home Office ban, the leader of the EDL, Stephen Lennon, was filmed making threatening remarks to the Muslim community, stating that “…every single Muslim watching this video on YouTube, on 7/7 you got away with killing and maiming British citizens…the Islamic community will feel the full force of the EDL if we see any of our citizens killed, maimed or hurt on British soil ever again.”
The EDL also plan to hold a protest in Walthamstow, London in August, though a local campaign group have vowed to make the borough a ‘no-go-area’ for EDL marchers.
UPDATE: Council rejects call for EDL march ban, see The Post.
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