The official UAF demonstration will be assembling at Welford Place, proceeding to a march and ending back at Welford Place, as the police wish.
The police proposed a route to the English Defence League (EDL) and Leicester Unite Against Fascism (LUAF). The route proposed to the EDL is the more prominent route through the city centre, which passes the clock tower, the High Cross – the main shopping centre and the Haymarket shopping centre.
Allowing the EDL this route is grotesquely irresponsible and offensive to Leicester’s diverse and multicultural population.
We are particularly concerned that this decision follows an EDL ‘demonstration’ in October 2010, which descended into rioting, violence and thuggery.
On the other hand there was a peaceful, law abiding event organised by LUAF, attended by local councillors including former leader of Leicester City Council Ross Wilmott, faith communities and other communities that make up Leicester.
This event has been described by local councillors as exemplary.
The questions the police and the Mayor have to answer is why the EDL were proposed such a prominent route through the city centre given their previous violence in Leicester?
Why has a less prominent route been given to LUAF given our previous peaceful event and commitment to non-violence, the support we have from local councillors and communities in Leicester?
We hold responsible the police and Mayor Peter Soulsby for reviving the fortunes of the EDL, who have struggled to maintain momentum for their demonstrations, after the EDL’s defeat in Tower Hamlets, East London on 3 September 2011.
Leicester now has the unfortunate reputation for allowing the EDL to march through the heart of a multicultural and diverse city, against the wishes of the city’s people.