EDL protest in Birmingham condemned by cross-party coalition of city leaders

Tareq Haddad
britain-first-and-edl-protest-in-london-with-heavy-police-presence

Cross-party leaders have condemned all forms of right-wing extremism as the English Defence League (EDL) hosted a march through the city.

Party leaders from Birmingham City Council's Labour, Liberal Democrat and the Conservative groups all urged people to ignore the march on Saturday (8 April) and go about their daily business as normal.

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It follows previous marches in the city which resulted in mass violence resulting in clashes with riot police.

A joint statement issued by the city council on behalf of party group leaders John Clancy (Labour), Robert Alden (Conservative) and Jon Hunt (Liberal Democrat) said: "The English Defence League is not welcome in Birmingham. They will never be welcome in Birmingham.

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"We would urge people to go about their normal everyday business on Saturday.

"There is no place in our city for messages of hate. There is no place for intolerance and there is no place for violence or extremism of any kind.

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"In this city, we are all British Brummies and we celebrate our shared Birmingham values. Together we are committed to a progressive, safe and inclusive city, free from discrimination and all forms of extremism.

"We are one Birmingham, one big community, and we will remain united against those that seek to divide us."

West Midlands Police told the Press Association it expects fewer than 100 protesters to attend.

"We have developed professional links with EDL organisers who recognise it is in the group's best interests to protest and have their say peacefully," the force said in a statement.

"We will have a highly visible police presence on the ground and sufficient police resources on standby should there be any trouble."

An EDL march in 2013 saw stones, bottles and coins hurled at police resulting in scores of arrests. More than 50 men were later convicted of violent disorder.

The march was held in protest against Islamic extremism in the wake of soldier Lee Rigby's murder. Saturday's march was called following the Westminster terror attack in London.

A similar protest was held in London a week prior (1 April) which resulted in 14 arrests.

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