Far-right English Defence League set to march in Stevenage
- Credit: Archant
Hundreds of people are expected to take part in a march organised by far-right group the English Defence League (EDL).
Members of the EDL – which claims to be a human rights organisation protesting about Islamic extremism but whose beliefs have been described by others as racist – plan to march through Stevenage on Saturday, June 7.
The group’s page on social networking site Facebook says the march is “to protest at grooming incidents”.
More than 250 people have so far confirmed through the site that they will be taking part in the march, which is set to start at 1pm.
Herts police’s Richard Harbon, the chief inspector for Stevenage, said: “We are aware of the intended march in Stevenage by the EDL on Saturday, June 7, and we have been in contact with the organisers so that we can facilitate a safe and lawful event.
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“People are allowed to hold a peaceful march within the confines of the law and we hope this will be the case.
“Extra police resources will be on duty at this time and in the event that any unlawful activity occurs it will be dealt with appropriately.”
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A police spokesman said the march is thought to be starting in Lytton Way in Stevenage, but this is yet to be confirmed.
An EDL member on the organisation’s Facebook site wrote: “Bus fair is a bit too steep for me, but I wish you all well my dear patriots, xxxx take care.”
Comet reader Trevor Palmer said: “I would not advocate attempting to ban such an event, but I would advocate that all like-minded people will join in a counter-protest against the vile policies and half-truths propogated.
“I am not suggesting a confrontation, but an alternate voice to the dangerous ideas propogated by this organisation needs to be voiced in Stevenage.”
In July 2010, there were concerns an EDL march would take place in Stevenage against the conversion of the town’s White Horse pub into a Bangladeshi cultural centre and place of worship.
A member of the EDL, calling himself Stevenage Man, contacted the Comet to say a march of up to 1500 people would take place, but the EDL leadership confirmed there was no official support for the march and that the EDL does not oppose the building of mosques.