EDL Demo 'Not Welcome In Our City'

25 May 2013, 05:58

A Newcastle City Councillor's told Capital that the English Defence League aren't welcome in the city - ahead of their demo today.

Councillor Dipu Ahad has set up a counter demonstration after the English Defence League announced earlier this year that they would be holding their national demonstration in Newcastle City Centre.

Councillor Ahad has told Capital he believes the protest will "unnecessarily stir racial hatred in the community".

Northumbria Police say they expect the march and counter demonstration to pass off peacefully despite admitting the shocking Woolwich murder "may have heightened community concerns'' about the events. 

The EDL planned several months ago to hold a national gathering in the city this Bank Holiday weekend, as it did three years ago.

The event in 2010 passed off without any arrests, and a strong police presence kept EDL supporters and their opponents well apart that day.

Northumbria Police said it expected a similar outcome this time, despite the shocking events in Woolwich seeming to increase tensions.

Newcastle Area Commander Chief Superintendent Gary Calvert said:
"We appreciate that the events in London may have heightened community concerns about this weekend's planned protests in Newcastle.

We are constantly monitoring the situation and will continue to adapt accordingly.

There haven't been any incidents or issues locally and there's nothing to suggest anything is going to happen here.

However, there are extra patrols out across the force area to reassure communities.

We have been planning for Saturday's events for several months and have adequate resources in place to deal with any eventuality.

Public safety is our absolute priority and our aim at all times is to allow these events to pass off peacefully with the minimum of disruption.

Northumbria Police has extensive experience in policing large scale events. Newcastle will be open for business - shops and pubs will operate as usual.'

The reason behind the EDL's protest was because they say their organisation objects to proposals to turn Benwell Towers, the former setting for TV series Byker Grove, into a faith school for Muslims because it will not 'integrate itself in the community'.

EDL says all divisions of the EDL will travel to the region for the demonstration.  

EDL Protest Route Info
Two pubs are being used for EDL supporters to meet prior to the demo.
* Raffertys - 29-33 Pink lane
* Gotham Town - Neville St
March starts at 1.30pm
* Neville street
* Grainger street 
* Grey street
* Mosley street
* Groat market
* Bigg market

Newcastle Unites Protest Route Info
* Assemble outside Newcastle City Hall at 1pm
Then to march....
* John Dobson Street
* Saville Place
* Northumberland Street
* Percy Street
* Newgate Street(main demonstration)

We ask everyone to join us at the start, bring your friends, family, work mates and everyone you know. 

Cheryl Fernandez-Versini

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