Extra police as two protests go ahead
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.