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Public meeting held to discuss how to counter English Defence League’s Norwich march

More than a hundred people attended a public meeting to discuss how they will protest over a planned Norwich march by the English Defence League.

The EDL is planning to hold its first march in Norwich this November, citing a decision to ban a Christian bookstall as a reason for the demonstration.

They say they want to march because Norwich City Council banned Reverend Alan Clifford, of the Norwich Reformed Church, from using a market stall on Hay Hill, following a complaint about allegedly anti-Islamic leaflets.

The league says that decision violated freedom of speech and they intend to march in the city on Saturday, November 10.

Although the EDL says it protests peacefully, its marches are often marred by violence and a group called We Are Norwich – a coalition of community groups, individuals, political groups and trade unionists – plans to hold a counter protest.

More than a hundred people attended a public meeting at the Vauxhall Centre in Norwich to discuss how to tackle what We Are Norwich organisers described as “the unwelcome visit” of the English Defence League.

Among those at the meeting were members of the Labour and Green parties, the Norwich Pride Collective, Unite against Fascism, Chapelfield Mosque, former Norwich North MP Ian Gibson and a host of trade union branches from the region.

Last week, a group of church leaders in the city, including the Bishop of Norwich, released a joint statement with the We Are Norwich group.

They said: “The intention of the English Defence League to mount a demonstration in Norwich is entirely unwelcome. Norwich has a long history of welcoming strangers, often in considerable numbers.

“The integration of so many different groups into the life of this fine city is what gives Norwich such richness in its life today.”

Among those contributing at the We Are Norwich meeting was Hajj Uthman Morrison, from Chapelfield Mosque, Julie Bremner, a trade unionist and a member of the Norwich Pride Collective and Lesley Grahame, Green city councillor and a member of the Jewish community.

Credit: Norwich Evening News (originally published 28 October 2012)


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