Child sexual exploitation survivors in Rotherham have joined town MPs and community leaders in supporting a new campaign to stop extremist marches through the town.
A new online petition has been launched by Rotherham Council leader Chris Read with the aim of highlighting to the Government ‘the significant adverse impact which the series of marches and demonstrations are having on the town and the strength of feeling which exists’.
Campaigners want the Government to ‘look again’ at laws on banning protests, following ‘a number of what appear to be racially-motivated attacks on local people over recent weeks’.
Millions has been spent on policing repeated protests in the town by groups such as the EDL and Britain First in the wake of the grooming scandal. Demonstrators say their events are raising awareness of what happened.
Among those who are backing the petition is Jayne Senior on behalf of the Rotherham CSE Survivors Steering Group, which involves former victims and their families.
Others to back the petition are MPs Sarah Champion, Kevin Barron and John Healey, as well as Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, Rotherham borough commander for South Yorkshire Police.
The ‘Enough is Enough’ campaign is also being supported by local religious groups, including Churches Together in Rotherham and the Rotherham Council of Mosques.
It follows attempts to get the such marches in the town banned by the Home Office stalling,
Rotherham Council commissioners wrote to the Home Secretary in May saying they were planning to make a joint submission with South Yorkshire Police asking for special powers to outlaw demonstrations by extremist groups.
But it was revealed last month that the Home Office has indicated the legal criteria to request a ban has not been met – with no official application being made as a result.
Around £4 million has been spent policing 20 demonstrations in South Yorkshire since 2012 – including 14 in Rotherham. A Rotherham Council spokesman said: “The petition adds weight to correspondence which Government Commissioners and others in the town have already sent to the Home Secretary in a bid to stop the demonstrations.”