September Song JP Cooper
6 February 2016, 10:28
West Midlands Police have told Capital they've got extra officers out today as an anti-islamist group are holding a Pegida march in Solihull.
The silent demonstration at Birmingham International Business Park is the first Pegida march in the UK
The force has been negotiating with organisers for several weeks and agreed a protest site in Birmingham International Business Park a short walk from Birmingham International railway station.
Protestors will muster at the station car-park between 1-2pm before walking to the demo point in nearby Starley Way; it’s anticipated the event will end by around 3pm.
Starley Way will be closed during the day while Bickenhill Lane will be shut temporarily for a short period to allow for protestors to walk from Birmingham International to the demo point where speeches will be held.
Chief Superintendent Alex Murray warns they will come down hard on anyone intent on causing trouble.
Tommy Robinson who quit as leader of the EDL to champion Pegida says not enough people are speaking out. Leader of the group Paul Weston Spoke to Capital:
Counter Protest Hope Not Hate held talks yesterday with 70 local leaders from the West Midlands to try and unify communities:
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson added: “As well as the monetary cost of these protests there is a large cost to local policing that groups such as PEGIDA. The protests in Dudley over the last year and now in Solihull mean that police have to focus their efforts on that instead of on local policing in the West Midlands.
''People in the West Midlands are clearly fed-up with these constant protests and the effect they are having on their local policing. We would much rather that this money was spent on something else, but the police have no choice other than to facilitate protests that are peaceful.
“The police have done an excellent job in putting in place robust plans to keep people safe and crucially minimise disruption to people going about their day using Birmingham International Train Station.
“The West Midlands is a diverse area, in which people from different backgrounds and cultures get on and work together well.
"In our region we respect the values of each other and the right that we all have to worship freely in whichever way we chose.
"The right to peacefully protest will be protected, but violence will not be tolerated. We expect everybody who visits the area to respect local people and their right live in harmony."