EDL threaten more demos after Rotherham protest

The EDL march makes its way round Rotherham town centre.
The EDL march makes its way round Rotherham town centre.
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English Defence League supporters have vowed to return to Rotherham ‘on a very regular basis’ to stage more demonstrations in the town.

Police chiefs drafted in 1,000 officers from across the county and neighbouring forces for a demonstration in the town centre on Saturday, which was attended by around 500 EDL supporters and another 200 from Unite Against Fascism, which staged a counter protest.

The policing operation cost around £500,000 and there are fears for how the cost of future demos will be met, with police chiefs having to save millions of pounds because of Government funding cuts.

Traders in the town are also concerned about the impact more marches and rallies will have on their businesses.

Michael Green, who runs Churchills Bistro and the Pantry Green restaurant, said: “I would like to know why they are choosing Rotherham for all these demonstrations.

“Whoever gives permission for these to take place needs to not only consider the rights of people to protest but also the rights of businesses to trade.

“I have spoken to other businesses like mine and we are all in the same boat - we are only just keeping our heads above water as it is, so I don’t know if we will be able to cope with losing even more money if we have to keep closing when these marches go ahead.”

Andrew Deniff, of the Rotherham and Barnsley Chamber of Commerce, said: “I am very frustrated and disappointed at this.

“The impact on this will be on businesses, but also ratepayers will be affected because of the cost of policing these events.”

An EDL spokesman said: “We will return on a very regular basis.”