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Police and partners are prepared for a planned protest by EDL and counter-protestors in Worcester on Saturday

Police and partners have worked over recent weeks to ensure Worcester is prepared for a planned protest march by the English Defence League (EDL) and counter-protestors, in the city on Saturday (1 September).

Event organisers from each group and key partners have worked to reassure the community, and have planned a proportionate and appropriate policing operation to ensure public safety and prevent crime and disorder.

Key representatives from Worcester City Council, Worcestershire County Council and Worcester Bid have been working together, along with the Police and Crime Commissioner and Worcester's communities, ahead of the event to mitigate the risks of increased tension and to reassure people that the city remains united - a safe place to live, work and socialise.

Chief Superintendent Mark Travis, of West Mercia Police, said: "Police and partners have been working with all groups over the last month to maximise the safety for all concerned. The community have been clear they are opposed to the EDL demonstration. We are working within the law to balance the rights and views of all groups.

"Proportionate, sensible and equitable restrictions have been put in place to ensure that peaceful protest can be undertaken.

"Protestors supporting the EDL will meet in Angel Place and walk to their Assembly point in the Cornmarket and the counter EDL demonstrators (those opposed to the EDL) will meet at Hill Street Car Park and walk to their assembly point in Silver Street car park. The groups will not come together, but will be able to vocally protest in close proximity of each other."

Chief Superintendent continued: "We are seeking to ensure disruptions to businesses and visitors is minimised on the day. Worcester has many family focused events on Saturday including the remarkable Fields of Battle exhibition in Cathedral Square and free family films in CrownGate.

"Worcester will be open for business as usual."
 

David Blake, Managing Director of Worcester City Council, said: "We are working closely with the Police to ensure it's business as usual as far as possible. We want to encourage people to come into the city centre and enjoy the many attractions there will be on Saturday, including the remarkable Fields of Battle exhibition in Cathedral Square and free family films in CrownGate."

Phoebe Dawson, CEO of Worcester BID said: "Worcester is a busy, vibrant and friendly city. This is no more evident than on Saturdays, when shoppers, diners and families alike visit the city centre to experience everything that our excellent traders and fabulous attractions have to offer.  Worcester BID has been working closely with the police and partners to ensure that there is minimum disruption to both businesses and visitors this Saturday and, where possible, Worcester city will remain 'business as usual'."

Councillor Adrian Hardman, Deputy Leader of Worcestershire County Council, said: "We have been co-operating with colleagues at West Mercia Police and we will be managing traffic in the area on the day."

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: "Worcester is a safe and peaceful city, where diversity is welcomed. I am reassured by the police's approach to ensure our communities can enjoy the city, whilst those who wish to peacefully protest can exercise this democratic right. I am reassured that a proportionate policing operation will be in place and by the united approach from partners to plan for this event. As Commissioner I am committed to ensuring the police are fully resourced to facilitate the protest and keep all of our communities safe."

Police will keep you updated throughout the day with regular Twitter updates on our account @WMerciaPolice @CsuptMarkTravis and regular Facebook updates on our account @westmerciapolice and website updates on https://www.westmercia.police.uk/

Issued: Friday 31 August, 09.15am, MC, Corporate Communications

Published 31/08/18