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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

EDL protesters banned from city centre pub (UK)

English Defence League protesters planning to march on Cambridge have been banned from a city centre pub.

The group tried to book a huge number of breakfasts at The Regal in St Andrew’s Street, but bosses of the biggest bar in the city refused to cater for them, saying the pub will be closed during the demonstration.

The EDL wanted to meet at the pub before its march on Saturday, July 9 – the same day as Big Weekend celebrations on Parker’s Piece.

The group has previously used other pubs in the JD Wetherspoon chain as meeting points.

Sarah Hemingway, The Regal’s manager, said: "They tried to book the pub and were asking for breakfasts for anything from 500 to 1,000 people. We do not want anything to do with this group and refused. We will be closing that day until about 4pm or whenever the police give us the all clear."

She added they had been talking to police and would keep in contact with them throughout the day.

"The EDL have been associated with our pubs in other parts of the country but we do not want to be associated with this group."

Officers are planning how to police the march but have not been told what route the EDL will take.

The group is protesting against the building of a mosque in Mill Road and it is expected the street, which is home to many of the city’s 7,000 Muslims, will be on the route.

Officers expect a city centre protest around noon. A counter demonstration by Unite Against Fascism and the Trades Union Council will meet outside the Guildhall at 11am.

Police have warned protesters they will not tolerate violence.

Inspector Robin Sissons said: "We understand people may be concerned but there will be a police presence on the day and we are planning for a variety of circumstances."

City MP Julian Huppert, Cambridge City Council leader Cllr Sian Reid, mayor Ian Nimmo-Smith and Lib Dem city and county councillors have signed a statement saying the EDL is not welcome.

Cllr Reid said: "There is no place in our city for anyone who does not share our view that diversity enriches our city.

"We are proud to welcome people from different nationalities and different faiths; we believe this is what makes Cambridge such a wonderful city in which to live."

Cambridge News