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Saturday, 13 August 2011

EDL 'to gather' despite march ban (UK)

Members of the English Defence League (EDL) are expected to gather in a town, despite a planned march being banned amid fears of violence.

The march in Telford, Shropshire, was vetoed by Home Secretary Theresa May to protect "communities and property", but members of the group can still gather to protest.

Telford & Wrekin Council requested a ban under Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986, but the local authority said it still expects the EDL to gather in Church Street, Wellington.

Mrs May said: "It is clear that a ban is needed to ensure communities and property are protected. What this ban does not do however is stop an EDL presence or a static demonstration in Telford this weekend.

"West Mercia Police have a significant number of officers being deployed to police any EDL presence. I encourage all local people to work with the police to ensure community relations are not undermined."

The council said there will still be a "significant multi-agency operation" in Wellington.

Councillor Shaun Davies said: "We welcome the fact that the Home Secretary has approved our request for the marches to be banned. However, there will still be a significant multi-agency operation in Wellington in anticipation of a static protest."

Chief Inspector Keith Gee, from West Mercia Police, said they would do everything possible to keep any assembly peaceful. He said: "We shall do everything possible to ensure that any assembly remains peaceful and poses the least amount of disruption possible for those not involved in the assembly.

"To that end, we are still planning for a major police operation, involving our multi-agency partners, and we will have significant numbers of police officers out on the streets to reassure our communities.

"I would like to reassure the communities in and around Wellington that we have the resources available and the experience to deal with any incidents on the day."

Belfast Telegraph