Safer streets pledge as Far Right march in Bradford

FAR right activists the English Defence League have been banned from marching through Bradford – but the group will still be allowed to demonstrate.

The EDL had intended to march next Saturday and their opponents, including the Unite Against Fascism group, were also planning a protest the same day.

Home Secretary Theresa May yesterday authorised a blanket ban on marches in the city over the bank holiday weekend amid fears any confrontation could end in violence.

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The groups will, however, be allowed static demonstrations.

Bradford Council had sought the marching ban after a formal request by West Yorkshire chief constable Sir Norman Bettison. He said he was taking the action after considering the "understandable concerns of the community".

The move followed a high-profile campaign to stop the EDL march, with some commentators saying they feared it could provoke violence to rival the 2001 riots. A 10,000-signature petition opposing the march was handed to the Home Office earlier this month.

In a joint statement, Tony Reeves, chief executive of Bradford Council and Mark Gilmore, Assistant Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, said: "We welcome the Home Secretary giving her consent for the council to impose an order banning any public processions, including marches, in Bradford district over the bank holiday weekend.

"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.

"Local people can have confidence in the police and the council maintaining public safety on the day and can be reassured that the city will be returned to normal very quickly after any static demonstrations."