Bradford braced for arrival of the EDL

Nine years ago it was the National Front marching.

Today it will be supporters of the English Defence League peddling a slightly different brand of xenophobia. But whatever name they go by, many residents of Bradford fear the outcome could be the same.

Faisal Nawaz Khan has good reason to remember the last time the far right sought to parade through his home city. He was just 15 when rioting erupted in the Manningham area of the city on the night of 7 July 2001.

In what was the latest pulse of violence to hit the North of England that summer, youths threw stones at police, a pub was burnt and a luxury car dealership was attacked. David Blunkett, who was Home Secretary, had stopped the NF demonstration planned for earlier that day – just as Theresa May has acceded to police requests to do the same with the English Defence League (EDL) this time. Yet trouble still flared and today it will be left to the police to keep the "static" gatherings of many hundreds of EDL supporters and their opponents from Unite Against Fascism under control.

Despite the ban on marching, the planned protests have already succeeded in rekindling unwanted memories in an area still rebuilding itself after riots in both 2001 and 1995. Mr Khan was convicted of throwing a stone at the height of the last disturbances and was sentenced to five years in prison – one of 200 people jailed from the community for a total of 604 years. Then a promising student today he hoses down cars for a living in the shadow of the burnt-out Upper Globe pub which remains derelict after being torched during that long night of violence.

"They put all the blame on us as if we were the culprits and wanted to burn these buildings down," he says. His friend agrees. "The fascists and racists came here 10 years ago to tear down the town and why have they been given permission to do that again?" said the older man who did not wish to be named. Rumours have already been swirling around, they say. A story of an Asian woman being attacked by white youths is circulating, possibly started deliberately to stoke up tension, the men working at the car wash believe.

"It's already escalating," said the older man. Mr Khan believes young Asians will be reluctant to go into the city centre today where police will corral the two rival protests into separate areas out of sight of each other. "We have told our community to stay at home. But we have received anonymous letters through the letterbox saying they want us to go into town and get into trouble. I don't know who it is but they say go there and fight and defend yourselves. But it is Ramadan and we will be fasting."

His friend Asif Khan, 25, said: "This is causing flashbacks for everyone. We don't want a repeat of what happened. They should ban them from coming here all together."

Opposition to the EDL has been well organised since news of the planned march broke. In Bradford city centre, Maya Perry, 35, was gathering signatures for a group called We Are Bradford. It is planning a multicultural celebration as the EDL gather at the newly created urban park – an area of land on the edge of a giant hole in the city centre which is to become a huge retail complex. She was doing brisk trade gathering signatures from passers-by putting their names to a statement denouncing the EDL as Islamophobic, adding to the 10,000 already gathered demanding the march be stopped.

Having grown up in Bradford but now living in London, she too recalls the effects of previous riots but believes people need to stand up and be counted. "We know that when there hasn't been any opposition such as in Stoke the far right can rampage through the town centre, attacking Asians and destroying businesses. They say they are against Islam but in Dudley they attacked a Hindu temple. They are violent racist thugs," she said.

For Bradford's traders, today promises to be one of lost business. Ayaz Muhammad, 33, who sells luggage in Kirkgate market, said he was planning to be there though others would not be opening their stalls. "No one wants trouble. The elder at the mosque has been giving us a lecture for the last two weeks not to go into the town centre. He has been warning us that it is like a fire. The dry sticks can ignite even the green wood. They fear everyone could get caught up if a few get involved," he said.

At the Oastler shopping centre Keith Taplin, 54, was manning his butcher stall which has been run by the family since before the War. The Union Flags on display were there to mark a recent sausage promotion and he said his customer base included as many Asian shoppers as white. "This is going to cause a lot of trouble. There are two or three different groups and that is going to cause a problem no doubt whatsoever," he said. Despite the planned presence of an extra 30 security guards at the market customers were getting their shopping in early. "We have seen a lot of our Saturday regulars already this week. Everybody is keeping out of the way. And who can blame them?"

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot