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Friday, 8 October 2010

Drivers in Leicester facing delays with planned protests by EDL and opponents (UK)

Drivers have been warned to expect delays on Saturday because of road closures linked to planned protests by the English Defence League (EDL) and its opponents.

A large swathe of Leicester city centre will be closed to traffic between 9am and 6pm.

Bus services have also been changed to accommodate the protests, expected to centre on Humberstone Gate East.

The EDL and its opponents, chiefly Leicester Unite Against Fascism, have agreed to stage their protests between Charles Street and the inner ring road.

Organisers say several thousand protesters will converge on the city.

Buses which normally stop in Humberstone Gate East will drop-off and collect elsewhere, although the number of services will not be affected.

All parking, taxi ranks and disabled parking bays in Belgrave Gate and Abbey Street will be suspended and allocated to buses.

The city council's head of traffic management, Andy Thomas, said: "These changes are necessary to secure and maintain public order and safety on Saturday.

"They have been prepared in partnership with police.

"We have provided temporary taxi ranks and disabled parking bays as near to the city centre as we can.
"For bus passengers, we are simply advising people to make a note of which stop they arrive at, and return to it when they want to leave the city centre."

The closed or bus-only roads are contained within an area bordered by Belgrave Gate, the inner ring road, Granby Street and Gallowtree Gate.

Temporary taxi ranks are being set up in King Street, with additional disabled parking in Peacock Lane and King Street.

Ady Culpin, of First buses, said: "We will operate a normal Saturday service but not from the stops we normally would.

"There will be disruption and we will have inspectors in the streets to direct customers to the services they want."

The city council is organising free sporting and cultural events at leisure and youth centres, adventure playgrounds and colleges, to prevent young people being drawn into potential disturbances linked to the protests.

A number of businesses, chiefly in Humberstone Gate East, but also in other parts of the city, have said they will close for the day.

A telephone helpline for traffic and travel questions will be open between 8am and 8pm on Saturday on 0116 252 7000.

Details of road closures, temporary bus stops and activities for families are available on the council website.

 This is Leicester