Hundreds to attend EDL demonstration in Rotherham

Police and EDL supporters at Sheffield Lane Top
Police and EDL supporters at Sheffield Lane Top
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Hundreds of EDL members are due to attend a demonstration in Rotherham this weekend.

A total of 659 English Defence League supporters have signed up on Facebook to the event to give organisers an idea of the level of interest in the event.

They are set to gather in Rotherham between 1pm and 3pm.

South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham Council have been made aware of the event and drafted a policing plan for the day.

They believe that opposition groups will ‘counter protest’.

Rotherham Commander, Chief Superintendant Jason Harwin, said: “South Yorkshire Police has a duty to keep people and property safe and the public can be reassured that this is our priority.

“We have no legal power to ban the proposed assembly and have a duty to respect individuals’ rights to protest peacefully.

“The event is likely to cause some disruption for local businesses and the public with road closures taking place for public safety.

“We will be looking to minimise any disruption where possible.”

Karl Battersby, Rotherham Council’s Strategic Director for Environment and Development Services, added: “The council has already made its views on the issue known – that the EDL march is not welcome here.

“However, we are working closely with the police to ensure the day passes without incident, and to support our businesses and citizens to go about their activities with as little disruption as possible.”

A proposed route and assembly point for the demonstration has been negotiated with the authorities, and is due to be published later in the week.