Police say they are working hard to ensure a planned demonstration by the English Defence League (EDL) later this month causes minimum disruption.Advertisement
The EDL demo in Preston city centre on Saturday November 27 is likely to attract a counter event from Unite Against Fascism, Lancashire Police said.
Police and council chiefs want people to be able to go about their daily business in the city despite the gatherings, which have caused flashpoints of trouble at similar events elsewhere in England.
Chief Supt Tim Jacques, divisional commander for central division, said: “Our top priority is the safety of the community, people visiting Preston on the day, demonstrators and counter demonstrators.
“The constabulary will facilitate any protest which is peaceful but we will deal firmly with anyone committing crime and disorder, and I would urge anyone thinking of coming to Preston to attend the event to bear this in mind.
“Our role is about fair and balanced policing – we’re here to keep the peace, treat people with respect and dignity and uphold the law.
“Where the law is broken we will make arrests and pursue cases through to prosecution where appropriate.
“We want to make sure that Preston remains open for business as usual on the day and that there is no disruption to daily life, although obviously there willbe a highly-visible police presence throughout the day.”
Preston City Council chief executive Lorraine Norris said: “We are working closely with the police to ensure that the protests are as peaceful as possible.
“We want to reassure businesses, shoppers, visitors and local residents alike that we are doing everything possible to minimise disruption so that people cango about their business as normal.”