EDL MARCH PASSES OFF PEACEFULLY
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