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Police prepared for “many eventualities” ahead of English Defence League march in Norwich

The officer organising the policing of two demonstrations in Norwich on Saturday said the force had prepared for “many eventualities”.

Roads and car parks in the city centre will shut as the English Defence League (EDL) and a counter demonstration march on city hall.

The controversial EDL are coming to the city to protest at a decision by the city council to ban a preacher from a stall in Hay Hill, for allegedly promoting “hate motivated” leaflets.

In response to the march, a group called We are Norwich, formed by politicians and trade unions, have organised a counter demonstration.

Amid fears the protest could descend into violence, Norwich District Commander, Superintendent Paul Sanford, said: “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 are very aware that these protest have resulted in disorder elsewhere.

“The police have been working with organisers for both protests.

“Our position at the outset will be to support peaceful protest, but we will have the capability to change that policing style.

“The police are planning for many eventualities.”

Businesses along the routes have been sent leaflets by police warning them of the march, but they have not been told to shut.

The Forum car park will close temporarily while protesters march past and there will also be road closures in the city centre during the day.

The EDL will gather at Castle Gardens, while the counter protesters will meet at Chapelfield Gardens at 11am, before heading to city hall.

Protesters will then head back along the same routes they came in.

Supt Sandford added: “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.”

Credit: EDP24

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