Businesses unhappy as EDL plan new Rotherham march at weekend

The EDL protest in Rotherham in September
The EDL protest in Rotherham in September
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Business leaders are predicting more misery for Rotherham traders at the weekend - as the English Defence League visits the town again for another march.

Hundreds of the group’s supporters are due to take part in the latest demonstration in the town, which has been organised in response to Rotherham’s child sexual exploitation scandal.

The EDL’s Yorkshire division is holding demonstrations in Rotherham and Leeds, starting from 11am.

It comes less than two months after the group’s last march through Rotherham on September 13, while a number of other organisations ranging from Britain First to the Leeds Anti-Fascist Network have also held demonstrations in the town since the Jay Report was published in August.

Business owners in Rotherham have recently started a petition calling on the Government to bring in new legislation allowing marches to be banned or moved because of their economic and social impact - warning demonstrations are having a ‘devastating’ effect.

Andrew Denniff, chief executive of the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce, said the latest march would be yet another blow to businesses on what should be one of the busiest shopping days of the year with Christmas approaching.

“This will put people off coming into town and have a direct impact on the town centre at a very important time of the year on the most important trading day of the week,” he said.

“We can’t continue on the basis of every three to four weeks having to cope with whoever comes to town.

“The longer this goes on the more difficult it is, and the longer it will take for businesses and the town to get back on its feet and re-establish its reputation.”