Cambridge: English Defence League Demo

21 February 2013, 06:00

Cambridgeshire Police have confirmed that more than 400 officers will be in Cambridge during two demonstrations on Saturday.

The English Defence League is due to hold an assembly at Christ's Pieces between 2pm and 4pm.

According to Cambridgeshire Police, the EDL is not expected to hold any form of march or procession.

The UAF is due to assemble at Petersfield at around noon before marching along the following route: 

East Road, Burleigh Street, Fitzroy Street, Jesus Terrace, New Square, Christ's Pieces, Emmanuel Street, St Andrew's Street into Sidney Street, Green Street, Trinity Street, Market Street and Market Hill, before returning along the same route to East Road but then crossing over to Norfolk Street, Gwydir Street, Mill Road, and back to Petersfield.

Both the EDL and UAF have held marches in Peterborough and Cambridge previously during the last two years.

There are no scheduled road closures during the protests, however Police have the option of using emergency powers to temporarily halt traffic if necessary.

Superintendent Vicky Skeels, the Cambridge City Commander said there would be some traffic disruptions but this would be kept to a minimum. 

She said: "We are taking the planning for this event very seriously and are actively engaging with a wide range of communities and other agencies to ensure that we are fully informed of issues that may be relevant to local policing on the day. 

I can assure the public we will have sufficient police officers on duty and available within the community to provide a good policing level in Cambridge and ensure the protests are policed effectively. 

We will have additional police officers patrolling key areas in the city centre and also in areas where people may enter and exit the city by public transport or by private car. 

We will have additional staff patrolling the city centre and Mill Road area into the late evening to support local businesses in the night-time economy. 

At this stage we are unable to estimate the numbers of people expected to attend the protests, however, we will ensure there will be sufficient resources deployed around the city to maintain public safety and to ensure community and traffic disruption is minimised.

While those taking part in the protest in the city will be allowed to express opinion and protest peacefully, we will not tolerate violence, incitement to hatred or other criminal activity."

Leader of Cambridge City council, Councillor Tim Bick, said: "I believe one of the best things about Cambridge is that it is a multi-cultural and tolerant city where people respect each other. 

We are working closely with the police to support them in their preparations for the protests as we recognise the right for free speech and peaceful demonstration as well as the need to protect the whole of the community from any unlawful behaviour. 

Ultimately we hope the people of Cambridge will be able to go about their normal business and enjoy the city with minimal disruption." 

Anyone with information or concerns about the protests is asked to contact police on 101.