The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR TELEGRAPH - By Stephen Briggs stephen.briggs@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk Twit­ter: @PTstephenB

Demon­stra­tions in Peter­bor­ough city cen­tre passed off peace­fully at the week­end.

The English De­fence League (EDL) and the Peter­bor­ough Trades Union Coun­cil (PTUC) both held protests in the city on Satur­day.

The EDL marched from Lon­don Road to Lower Bridge Street, while the PTUC held a static protest at the Key Theatre car park.

Around 30 mem­bers of the EDL took part in the protest, while there were 60 mem­bers of the PTUC. The EDL said they were march­ing to demon­strate about a number of is­sues, in­clud­ing Mus­lim child groom­ing gangs, fe­male gen­i­tal mu­ti­la­tion, an at­tack on a man in Yax­ley and re­cent ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

Mem­bers of the or­gan­i­sa­tion waved flags and plac­ards dur­ing the march, as well as chant­ing slo­gans.

The PTUC set up a counter protest against the EDL, say­ing the group were Is­lama­pho­bic and racist.

The PTUC demon­stra­tion was at­tended by Peter­bor­ough MP Fiona Onasanya, who ad­dressed the pro­test­ers in the car park. Res­i­dents were en­cour­aged to come into the city as nor­mal while the protests were tak­ing place, with a large po­lice pres­ence on the streets. In to­tal 170 po­lice staff and of­fi­cers were on duty for the protests, in­clud­ing 80 of­fi­cers on the ground. Other staff worked in the con­trol room, or were in re­serve. A number of com­mu­nity rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in­clud­ing youth work­ers and faith lead­ers, acted as key con­tacts to en­sure peo­ple were kept in­formed of the polic­ing op­er­a­tion. Su­per­in­ten­dent Andy Gipp said: “Our aim was to fa­cil­i­tate two peace­ful protests while al­low­ing the peo­ple of Peter­bor­ough to go about their busi­ness as usual and I am de­lighted this is what hap­pened.

“We had suf­fi­cient re­sources on the ground to po­lice the protests, carry out pa­trols in the city cen­tre and key lo­ca­tions and deal with busi­ness as usual for the force.

“I would like to praise both sets of pro­tes­tors and the peo­ple of Peter­bor­ough for en­sur­ing to­day passed off without in­ci­dent.”

A spokesman for Cam­bridgeshire po­lice said it was too early to say how much the op­er­a­tion had cost the po­lice but the force had con­tin­gency funds in place to cover the cost.

Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil’s Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Gil­lian Beasley said: “Satur­day’s events have demon­strated once again our city’s strength of com­mu­nity and that is thanks to the peo­ple of Peter­bor­ough for stand­ing to­gether and go­ing about their daily lives as usual. The city cen­tre has been a real hive of ac­tiv­ity show­ing that peo­ple have been largely un­af­fected by the protests.

“I was also very im­pressed with the po­lice op­er­a­tion which en­sured both protests were able to pass peace­fully with very lit­tle dis­rup­tion to the city.

“We have been work­ing very closely with our com­mu­ni­ties, busi­nesses, po­lice and part­ner or­gan­i­sa­tions over the past few weeks to al­lay any con­cerns and re­as­sure the com­mu­nity and to en­sure the city could re­turn to nor­mal as quickly as pos­si­ble af­ter the demon­stra­tions.

“On Satur­day we had 15 youth work­ers out in our neigh­bour­hoods talk­ing to our young peo­ple, keep­ing them in­formed and sup­port­ing them to feel safe in the city cen­tre. Our young peo­ple have be­haved ma­turely and re­spon­si­bly and I would like to thank them for not re­act­ing to the protests.”

The EDL march makes its way through the streets of Peter­bor­ough to Lower Bridge Street

Peter­bor­ough MP Fiona Onasanya at Satur­day’s PTUC march

Around 60 peo­ple, in­clud­ing Peter­bor­ough MP Fiona Onasanya, gath­ered for Satur­day’s PTUC march

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