Bradford Council leader David Green writes to Prime Minister over EDL demonstration (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Council leader David Green writes to Prime Minister over EDL demonstration
7:00am Tuesday 8th October 2013 in News
The leader of Bradford Council has written to the Prime Minister asking him to see what can be done to address the concerns of Bradfordians as the English Defence League (EDL) plans to hold a demonstration this weekend.
Councillor David Green, in his letter to David Cameron, said it was the third such event in the district since 2010 and that city centre traders were concerned about the effect it would have on their takings.
The cost of policing the demonstration is thought to be £1.5 million.
Coun Green said: “Whilst they provide spurious justifications for the decision to come to Bradford, it is clear from their rhetoric and previous actions that their aim is to disrupt, incite, intimidate and divide the local community.”
He added that the freedom to demonstrate was a “cherished and hard won freedom”.
“But such an important freedom must also be balanced with the rights of the community in which the demonstration is held and the businesses whose viability is affected by the event,” he writes. “The current legislation puts the emphasis on the rights of the demonstrators, not the community, despite evidence of the disruption caused and the real aims of some of the organisers of such demonstrations.
“I am therefore asking that Ministers consider ways of changing the rules surrounding such events to give greater weight to the economic and community consequences of such events, and whether the disruption and cost is proportionate when deciding if and when they should be permitted in order to redress the balance between the right to demonstrate peacefully and the right to live and work in peace.”
Coun Green voiced the concerns of city centre traders.
“On what should be one of their busiest days of the year, shoppers are unlikely to come into Bradford to do their Eid shopping,” he added.
“Businesses are worried about their staff safety and the reputational damage done to the city and its effect on future trade.”
The letter has been copied to Home Secretary Theresa May, Minister without Portfolio Kenneth Clarke and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles.