Rotherham traders launch petition over demonstrations in town

Rotherham town centre
Rotherham town centre
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A petition has been launched by Rotherham traders calling for businesses to have more say on whether demonstrations get the go-ahead.

They are angry at the number of marches held in their town, with a third in five weeks planned on Saturday following the publication of the Jay Report into child sexual exploitation.

Businesses say trade is affected each time a march is held.

Hundreds of supporters of right-wing Britain First plan to march through the town today.

Trader Charlotte Scothern, who runs Patchwork Pig on High Street, is calling on the Home Office to give more consideration to the economic and social impact of demonstrations rather than giving organisers the automatic right to host gatherings.

She said: “We need others to have their say when marches happen which impact their lives and trade, so an agreement can be met so that minimal impact occurs.

“Marches take place in the heart of our towns and cities, and despite the best efforts of the police and the council to minimise disruption and ensure that businesses stay open, the reality is that significant parts of our towns close every time, and the shops that remain open do not trade well and are fearful of damage to their businesses.

“The impact of such protests and marches through our small towns creates a devastating impact for our local communities and we need our voices heard.”

Around 200 people are expected to attend the Britain First march which begins at Westgate car park at 1pm. Speeches will be delivered in All Saints Square.

Extra police have been drafted in from across South Yorkshire and neighbouring forces.