POLITICIANS and police have united to urge people to ignore a demonstration by the English Defence League and a counter-protest expected in Bradford on Saturday.
Supporters of the EDL will gather for a static protest – not a march – in Bridge Street and counter-demonstrators will be at Bradford Urban Garden, the site of the stalled Broadway shopping development. EDL supporters have posted comments on social media sites of their intention to demonstrate despite the decision of two of its leaders to step down.
Visitors to Bradford are being warned of road closures and disruption from midnight tomorrow. Council leader David Green emphasised the city remained open for business, and urged people to stay away from the protests.
“The police and council want to apologise in advance to city centre users and businesses but the disruption, which we will keep to a minimum, is designed to maintain public safety.
“We do not want the demonstrations in Bradford but we have no legal powers to ban them. We hope that the demonstrations will be over by the afternoon and all the roads will be able to open up again as soon as possible.
“Local people can be reassured that the city will be returned to normal very quickly after the protests.”
The cost of policing the protests has been estimated at around £1m but could rise, according to police.
A police spokesman said: “People have a right to come and protest but we don’t want people coming into the city and confronting protesters.”
The spokesman said it would be “business as usual, as far as it can be”.
The council has been working with a range of people to hold an event celebrating the city which will take place in Centenary Square tomorrow.