Peterborough MP to speak at protest against EDL

Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya EMN-170713-212358009
Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya EMN-170713-212358009

Peterborough MP Fiona Onasanya will join the counter protest against the EDL on Saturday.

Ms Onasanya will be part of the Peterborough Trades Union Council (PTUC)’s demonstration against the protest march from the English Defence League.

Starting at 12.30pm at the Key Theatre Car Park, the protest will addressed by speakers from across the community.

Ron Graves, PTUC President, said: “Peterborough Trades Union Council stands for the unity of all working people and we will not stand idly by while groups like the EDL try to divide us on grounds of religion, ethnicity, or anything else.”

The protest will be supported by Unite Against Fascism (UAF). A spokesman said: ““Wherever they’ve turned up, the EDL have been met by large, vibrant and diverse demonstrations that have led to their numbers dwindling and their morale plummeting.

“However there is no room for complacency and by holding a broad, diverse, vibrant and large counter demonstration in Peterborough city centre, we hope to be able to continue and hasten their demise.”

The EDL march is set to start at 1pm in London Road, finishing outside Peterborough Magistrates’ Court in Lower Bridge Street.

The EDL said they are marching to protest about Muslim grooming gangs, female genital mutilation and recent terror attacks in the UK.

Residents are being urged to come into the city centre as normal over the weekend.

Supt Andy Gipp, from Cambridgeshire Police, said he was confident the event would pass off peacefully. He said: “Together with our partners, we are now experienced at dealing with this type of event and similar protests were managed effectively in 2010 and 2014.

“These plans balance the concerns of local people and businesses in Peterborough, while responding to the requirements of the EDL and PTUC.

“It provides central locations for both protests while allowing the majority of businesses in the city to continue as usual.

“We understand that for businesses in the Rivergate area there will be an impact during the protest and we are working with those business owners, alongside the council, to minimise this and look at alternative ways of drawing in business over the weekend.

“At this stage we cannot confirm numbers likely to attend, albeit we have reason to believe it will not be as well attended as previous events organised by the EDL. As and when we have further information we will share this with the public through our various established links with the community.

“As public authorities, the constabulary and Peterborough City Council have a duty to support and facilitate people’s right to peaceful protest. Key to that process is ensuring we deal with any concerns people may have.”

A multi-agency community group, involving police and the city council, has been set up to ensure the community are kept updated on information about the process and deal with any community concerns.

Peterborough City Council Chief Executive Gillian Beasley said: “We are working closely with the police to make sure this demonstration causes the minimum disruption possible to Peterborough.

“The city has a strong community spirit and the best thing people can do to support that unity and cohesion in the run up to, during, and after the protest, is to go about their business as usual.

“The city centre will be open and I encourage people to visit as they would on any other Saturday.”