EDL Protests In Birmingham: The Latest

EDL supporters are marching in Birmingham later and counter demonstrations are planned nearby.

It's the second time the far right group have demonstrated in the city.  Last July 20 people were arrested when violence broke out during the protests on Broad Street.

Police say they have been working with both the EDL and Unite against Facism, who are having a counter demonstration, to make sure today remains peaceful.

EDL supports have been given Bar Risa on Broad Street as their meeting point.  The owners of the bar told Heart they repeatedly refused a request by the police to host the group but eventually allowed it after officers said there was no where else suitable.  Officers can't stop the group drinking so wanted to keep them all within one site.  All profits made by Bar Risa are being given to charity.

The EDL march will begin at 1pm.  They march the few minutes to Centenary Square where they'll protest.

The counter demonstration by Unite Against Facism is being held on the other side of Paradise Forum in Chamberlain Square.

Councillor James McKay, Cabinet Member for Social Cohesion, Equalities and Community Safety at Birmingham City Council, said: “We have a choice when the EDL decides to visit Birmingham – we can engage and seek to influence the protest, or we can choose not to, and run the risk of things getting out of hand.

“The top priority of the council, the police, and other partners, will always be to keep Birmingham safe. That means talking to the EDL is vital, however much we would prefer them to stay away from Birmingham.
“Part of ensuring that the EDL protest has as little impact on the city as possible is agreeing somewhere for EDL supporters to gather, before the protest.
“Bar Risa has agreed to a request from West Midlands Police to host the visiting group.
“It is a difficult position for any business to be placed in, but for the second year running the bar’s management has played its part in handling a difficult situation, and I am grateful to Bar Risa for their help.”

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