EDL planning 'static' London protest

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The Independent Online

The English Defence League is still planning to demonstrate in the capital this weekend despite the 30-day ban against marching.

The far-right group told Scotland Yard today that it wishes to go ahead with a "static" protest in the wake of tough measures introduced by the Home Secretary.



More than 3,000 officers will be available on Saturday amid fears of violence and clashes with opposition groups, including Unite Against Fascism.



Chief Superintendent Julia Pendry said it was the first time since the Brixton riots 30 years ago that police had requested powers to stop marches.



"Following the appalling disorder in London in recent weeks, it's important London, its communities and businesses, can return to normality," she told reporters.



While concern of unrest centres on the deprived inner city borough of Tower Hamlets, Home Secretary Theresa May also banned marches in Newham, Waltham Forest, Islington, Hackney and the City of London amid fears that demonstrations could spill across the border.



"We have not sought this power since 1981 - which shows how we do not take this lightly," Ms Pendry said.



"We have been in talks with representatives of groups before and since the disorder has taken place and we continue to talk to them today.



"As far as Saturday is concerned, both parties have requested a static demonstration and we will be negotiating with them suitable locations with the aim of minimising disorder."



Section 13 of the Public Order Act would allow a ban of up to three months - but the force does not believe it appropriate.

PA

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