This is a message to all Key Individuals regarding the forthcoming protests by the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism in Leicester on Saturday 9th October, from Harborough Police.
Shoppers in Leicester city centre will be handed leaflets providing guidance from Leicestershire Constabulary and Leicester City Council on what to expect during the forthcoming proposed demonstrations.
The English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism have indicated that they wish to march through the city on Saturday, October 9. Leicester City Council, following guidance from Leicestershire Constabulary, has asked the Home Secretary to ban the march. The Government is yet to make a decision.
However, even if a procession is banned, the protest groups can still legally hold a demonstration in Humberstone Gate East as part of their democratic right to free speech under the Human Rights Act.
The police and council expect these protests to cause disruption to the city, as there will be more crowds than usual, roads will be closed and buses will be rerouted. It is hoped the information leaflets will enable shoppers to make an informed judgement about whether they want to postpone their trip to the city that day.
Chief Superintendent Rob Nixon, who is in charge of city centre policing, said: "Our aim is to allow the protesters their democratic right to demonstrate whilst trying to keep disruption to a minimum for everyone else.
"Our hope is that once these groups finish their protests we can return the city back to normality as soon as possible.
"However, we have to be realistic, and with the number of road closures and increased crowds expected around Granby Street, Belvoir Street and Humberstone Gate, it’s highly likely people will experience some disruption."
Leicester City Council’s chief executive, Sheila Lock, added: "Our aim of leafleting exactly one week prior to the protest is that we will capture those people regularly in the city centre on a Saturday - shoppers, workers and people who meet with friends – providing them with an idea of what to expect on the day.
"They can then decide for themselves whether they want to come into the city centre that afternoon or delay their visit. We shall be making sure there are regular updates on our website, Facebook and Twitter so people will able to find out almost instantly when the protest is over and roads have reopened."
Police Officers, PCSOs and City Wardens will be handing out leaflets in Humberstone Gate, at the Clock Tower and around the market in order to inform as many people as possible.
The planned protests are expected to begin around lunchtime and the experience of other cities that had similar demonstrations is that it could last a few hours.
However, it is hoped that once the protesters have cleared, the operation to return the city back to normality can begin.
In order to keep people up-to-date with events in the city that day, Leicestershire Constabulary and Leicester City Council will be providing regular updates to the media, on their websites and through police Twitter and Facebook pages, meaning people will also know almost instantly when the demonstrations have finished and roads reopened.
The police and council have issued the following advice:
- There will be more crowds than normal in the city, particularly around Humberstone Gate, Belvoir Street and Charles Street, and more police officers than you would normally see.
- Many protesters will travel from outside Leicestershire, so the bus and train stations will also be more crowded than usual.
- During the afternoon of Saturday, October 9, Humberstone Gate East is likely to contain large numbers of protesters from opposing groups.
- Transport will be affected, as bus routes will need to be diverted around the protests. There may also be road closures.
- Police officers will be stopping and searching people on the day as part of our plans to prevent disorder.
- If anyone commits a criminal offence or causes damage or disorder, they will be dealt with fairly but firmly. The police will not tolerate damage or acts of violence.
- Don’t come to the city just to show you oppose what the protesters stand for. The best thing you can do to demonstrate the unity and cohesion of our city is support one of the planned celebration events that are happening on the two days either side of Saturday, October 9. Let the police deal with the protest.
Henry Whatley (7729)
Community Initiatives Coordinator
Member since: 2nd July 2012
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