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English Defence League Bradford march banned

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 20 August 2010

The home secretary Theresa May has stepped in to ban a march in Bradford next weekend by the right-wing English Defence League (EDL) following complaints from local councillors and police.

English Defence League protestors at a rally in Aylesbury (Reuters)

Theresa May was asked to intervene following a formal request from West Yorkshire's chief constable, Sir Norman Bettison.

Sir Norman said he had made his request after considering the "understandable concerns of the community" which had been voiced via a high-profile campaign in the city and elsewhere.

There had been fears that the march, which was due to take place on 28 August, could re-ignite tensions which led to riots in the city nine years ago.

A rival protest by Unite Against Fascism had also been planned to take place in Bradford on the same day.

A 10,000 signature petition opposing the EDL march was handed in to the Home Office earlier this month.

Despite the ban on the moving protest, local authorities have no powers to ban a static gathering by either the EDL or Unite Against Fascism.

In a joint statement, West Yorkshire police and Bradford Council welcomed the home secretary's decision:

"The council sought the home secretary’s permission to impose an order prohibiting the holding of public processions in Bradford district over the bank holiday weekend, after receiving a letter from the chief constable and after listening to the views of a wide range of local groups and organisations.

"Even though the home secretary has given her consent it does not prevent any static demonstrations taking place, which are still lawful provided they remain peaceful, as we have no legal powers to prevent them."

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