Small number of protesters expected for EDL march in Peterborough

EDL march in city centre 2014 English Defence League EMN-140329-170148001
EDL march in city centre 2014 English Defence League EMN-140329-170148001

Only a small numbers of protesters are expected for the EDL march in Peterborough this weekend, police have revealed.

Saturday’s march will be the third time the anti-Islam English Defence League will have marched in Peterborough following previous events in 2010 and 2014 - however, this week’s event is predicted to be far smaller than the other two.

Along with the march by the EDL, there will be a counter protest by the Peterborough Trades Union Council (PTUC) taking place on the day.

Supt Andy Gipp said: “The information we have at the moment is for a very small number of EDL coming to Peterborough, probably 30.

“It’s a regional event not a national event. Every event recently by the EDL has been really poorly attended. There’s a reason they are really poorly attended.

“I do not see them as a threat to this city at all. I can’t imagine it will be a positive event.

“The balance is there’s a counter protest - there almost ways is. I would ask do not make it hard for us on the day.”

The EDL march is planned to start at about 1pm in London Road, proceeding over Town Bridge and past Bridge Street Police Station before congregating on Lower Bridge Street at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court.

Temporary road closures may be implemented in London Road and on Town Bridge while the protest takes place.

The PTUC will hold a static protest from about 11am in a section of the Key Theatre car park. Other areas of the car park will remain open to the public.

Supt Gipp 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.”

“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.”