EDL should be banned from marching

31st January, 2012

Open Letter to the City Mayor

Dear Peter,
I am appalled that the racist EDL are to be allowed to march through Leicester this Saturday.
I am also astonished that you have not applied for a ban to stop the EDL marching through our streets.
There is no way that it will be a normal Saturday for the majority of Leicester people if we allow this march to go ahead. It will be a cause of danger, intimidation and fear for ordinary people trying to go about their everyday life.
The council has successfully applied for a ban of neo-nazi marches on three occasions in the past. Twice when I applied as leader of the council and once when Cllr Veejay Patel applied, when he was leader. On the first two occasions this stopped the neo-nazis from coming to our city at all. On the latter occasion they were permitted a static demonstration in the city centre and the council and police advised ordinary folk to stay away. Effectively handing over our city centre for a period of several hours to racist thugs.
I had hoped that we had learnt from this and were encouraged by your statements that the city centre would remain open, and to believe that things would be better this time.
Clearly we were wrong.
I don’t know what advice you have had from the police, but I hope you reconsider it and apply for a ban on the march today, because of the obvious threat to public order and the disruption to the ordinary daily lives of the citizens it is our job to protect.
I understand that the Public Order Act would permit the council and the police to apply to ban the march, and to determine the fixed location of any protest meeting, to restrict the numbers taking part and the duration of the meeting. These are draconian powers and should only be used rarely. This is the time for their use and indeed I believe this would have popular support. Contrast this with the use of such powers by the Thatcher government to stop miners travelling to picket on the A50 before they even got to Coalville in the 1980s. It’s at times like this that we have to decide whose side we are on.
Please reconsider the application for a ban, and confine the static demonstration to St Margaret’s Pastures. By doing this the council and the police can manage the EDL and minimise the disruption they are intent on causing, with their racist propaganda. If you want to know the truth about the EDL and what they intend for our city look here
thank you
Cllr. Ross Willmott
Chair Overview Select Committee
Leicester City Council
ps update councillors are now calling for the EDL march to be stopped including: Lucy Chaplin, Patrick Kitterick, Lynn Senior, Neil Clayton, Su Barton with Cllrs Dr.Chowdhury and Hanif Aqbany expressing concern about the proposed route.
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  1. Vijay Singh Riyait

    31st January, 2012

    Thank you taking this stand Ross. I completely agree with you on this and this stance is backed by the Leicester Mercury in that they have advocated using public disorder powers used in the riots to stop the EDL. If the Leicester Mercury is not fooled by the EDL, then neither should our city leaders or police be http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/Mercury-Opinion-EDL-s-letter-does-reassure/story-15061973-detail/story.html

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