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8 November 2012, 05:00
Police say they're hoping for peaceful protests when the English Defence League march in Norwich this weekend.
The English Defence League (EDL) and a group in opposition are both staging marches in the city during the day.
Police have been planning for a number of weeks for these events and there will be an increased police presence in Norwich, both to facilitate the protests and to support ‘business as usual’ in the city.
Norwich District Commander, Supt Paul Sanford, said: “Norfolk Constabulary has now received formal notification for both the EDL and counter-protest demonstrations in the city on Saturday.
“There is a legal right to peaceful protest in this country and we are committed to supporting lawful protest. The safety of those involved and of the public in general is our primary concern and there will be a substantial and visible police presence in place to support this.”
While specific details will be published in due course, it is known that the EDL group intends to gather at Castle Gardens before marching to City Hall, whilst the counter protesters will gather at Chapelfield Gardens before also marching to City Hall. Both groups intend to have speeches before dispersing and there will be a number of temporary road closures to allow the demonstrations to pass through the city.
Supt Paul Sanford added: “While there is no indication that these will be anything other than peaceful protests, we are aware of and understand the concerns that a small number of people within the local community have raised around these protests.
“We have been liaising with community representatives to offer reassurance and will be closely monitoring the events with the intention of acting swiftly and decisively should any individuals act in an anti-social or criminal manner.”
Anyone with any concerns or queries relating to the policing operation can e-mail Supt Paul Sanford at email@example.com.
Anyone who wishes to receive regular updates from the police during the day can follow @NorfolkPolice or #norwichprotest on Twitter or register for our free text service on Police Direct.
To subscribe, text the word NORFOLK to 66101 (stand message rates apply) or to register in full, visit Police Direct and tick the ‘Norwich protest’ option.
Details of road closures, when confirmed, will be published at www.norwich.gov.uk