Ex­tra po­lice as two protests go ahead

Sunderland Echo - - News - By Echo Re­porter echo.news@jpress.co.uk Twit­ter: @sun­der­lan­de­cho

Ex­tra po­lice of­fi­cers will be on the streets of Sun­der­land city cen­tre to­mor­row as two demon­stra­tions are held at key lo­ca­tions.

Mem­bers of Sun­der­land Unites and Stand Up To Racism North East will be meet­ing in Keel Square from 1.15pm to­mor­row.

Or­gan­is­ers say it aims to be a counter march to one in Mow­bray Park or­gan­ised by the Wear­side-based Jus­tice for the Women and Chil­dren Group, which is also set to be joined by the Demo­cratic Football Lads Al­liance (DFLA), tak­ing place in Mow­bray Park from 1.30pm.

The women’s group was formed fol­low­ing a series of rape in­quiries launched in Sun­der­land ear­lier this year.

Two sex at­tacks were re­ported in Roker Av­enue, the first on Wed­nes­day, May 23, and the sec­ond on Mon­day, June 4. Two more women also re­ported they had been at­tacked in Mow­bray Park on Bank Hol­i­day, May 28.

A series of marches have al­ready been held by the women’s group, which have passed off peace­fully.

A spokesman for Sun­der­land Unites and Stand Up to Racism North East said its event has at­tracted the sup­port of lo­cal MPs, trade unions, as well as com­mu­nity and faith groups.

Or­gan­is­ers say their rally will be ad­dressed by lo­cal people, par­tic­u­larly women, to give the mes­sage that people should fight for real jus­tice for all women and that all women, re­gard­less of race or re­li­gion, should be safe and that all per­pe­tra­tors, re­gard­less of race or re­li­gion, should be pros­e­cuted.

Chief In­spec­tor Dave Guthrie of Northum­bria Po­lice, said: “We are aware of the demon­stra­tion and counter-demon­stra­tion planned on Satur­day in Sun­der­land.

“We have a duty to po­lice protests and we re­spect the rights of people to hold such events.

“En­sur­ing the safety of the pub­lic is our ut­most pri­or­ity.

“The force has ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence of polic­ing such events and has been work­ing closely with the or­gan­is­ers to en­sure dis­rup­tion is kept to a min­i­mum.

“Ex­tra of­fi­cers will be on pa­trol to of­fer re­as­sur­ance to mem­bers of the pub­lic, and any­one with any con­cerns is en­cour­aged to speak to a nearby of­fi­cer.”

Two men have been charged in re­la­tion to the in­quiry launched after the first al­leged at­tack in Roker Av­enue.

Two teenagers were also ar­rested in con­nec­tion with the re­ports made by women, both aged in their 20s, stat­ing they had been raped in Mow­bray Park.

Two demon­stra­tions are to take place in Sun­der­land city cen­tre to­mor­row – one in Keel Square and the other in Mow­bray Park, inset.

Chief In­spec­tor Dave Guthrie.

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