Chief constable calls for ban on Bradford EDL march

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EDL protest in July in Dudley
Image caption,
Other EDL marches have been held around the country

A chief constable is applying for a ban on marches in Bradford on the day of a planned protest by the English Defence League (EDL).

West Yorkshire Police's Sir Norman Bettison said he was taking the action after considering the "understandable concerns of the community".

Unite Against Fascism is also planning a protest on the same day, 28 August, in response to the EDL demo.

The application is made to Bradford council but needs government approval.

Sir Norman said that a ban on marching would not stop either group holding a "static" protest.

The move follows a high-profile campaign in the city to stop the EDL march, with some fearing it could provoke a violent reaction to rival the riots which happened in the city nine years ago.

In a statement, Sir Norman said: "Having carefully considered all the issues arising from any planned or unplanned march by protesters in Bradford on August 28, including the understandable concerns of the community, I have decided to apply to Bradford Council for an order prohibiting the holding of a public procession in Bradford on that day.

"We must, however, be clear in the distinction between the application for a ban to march, and the fundamental right to hold a static protest.

"If the home secretary agrees to a ban, it does not prevent static, visible, demonstrations taking place. But I believe this would be less disruptive to residents of Bradford, and would enable the force to better manage the operation."

Sir Norman said police were working with Bradford City Council and the community to ensure "plans are in place to maximise public safety".

He added: "Whatever the outcome of the application for a ban, the police's role on the day will be to enable any peaceful protest to take place but we will not tolerate damage to the city or violence."

A 10,000-signature petition opposing the EDL march was handed in to the Home Secretary Theresa May earlier this month.

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