Local businesses were hit hard today after they chose not to stay open when the EDL took to the streets of Dudley to protest against plans for a new mosque.
This was despite local police meeting regularly with organisers, councillors, business leaders and community representatives before the protest took place.
Throughout all of our meetings, we encouraged businesses to open as usual. Some, however, took the independent decision to close. I fully understand why they made that choice given the impact the last demonstration in Dudley had on the town.
The protest apparently passed fairly peacefully but police say they will continue to support local businesses and help to make up for lost trade by holding a family day in the town next Sunday.
There were far fewer people than anticipated at the protests but despite the fact the operation ran as well as could be expected we must not lose sight of the fact that local businesses have been hit hard.
The reality is that the fear and anxiety caused by these kinds of protests meant that the majority of businesses did not open on what would normally be their busiest day’s trade.
30 people were arrested today for public order related offences ahead of the EDL protests.
Police are continuing to patrol Dudley town centre following the EDL protest in Priory Road and the Unite Against Fascism counter-protest in Castle Street.
Around 600 supporters of the English Defence League gathered outside Dudley Council House while another 50 people from Unite Against Fascism also gathered to oppose the EDL.
The excellent work of officers has ensured that the events in Dudley were peaceful and calm.
In advance of the protests community leaders joined my call for peace, calm and respect and I am pleased that our call was adhered to on the whole.
There is still a significant police presence in town as we make sure the protesters disperse safely and peacefully.
Dudley protests update. Both protest sites are now clear and the roads are starting to be re-opened. http://t.co/bS9y9RyNqy
The EDL protest taking place in Dudley appears to have passed peacefully.
More than 1500 EDL members staged a rally outside Dudley Council House in protest at the plans to build a new mosque.
EDL members gathered at the Rock Zombie bar before walking to the Council House for the protest.
A huge metal fence has been erected in Dudley city centre to keep the EDL members and the Unite Against Fascism demonstrators away from each other.
Demonstrators accuse the EDL of racism over their objections to a new mosque in Dudley.
Up to 1000 police officers are on standby to keep the two groups separate.
More than 1500 EDL members are expected in Dudley today along with protesters holding a counter-demonstration.
EDL members gathered at the Rock Zombie bar before walking to the Council House for their protest.
Massive disruption is expected in Dudley town centre today as EDL members from around the country stage a protest against plans for a new mosque.
Many traders have decided not to open their shops today.
Here is a link to the full list of affected services due to road closures and diversions during two demonstrations in the town today.
We have a proud tradition across Dudley of people of all backgrounds getting on well and expect that this will continue to be the case on the day of the protest and afterwards.
We are clear as a community and as a council that the EDL is not welcome in Dudley borough but there are no legal powers available to stop a static democratic protest.
In addition to potentially causing financial loss to local businesses, previous visits have cost the taxpayer around £1million.
He also points out that the EDL visit will have no bearing on ongoing High Court proceedings in relation to proposals for a mosque in Hall Street.
Massive disruption is expected in Dudley today as up to 1500 EDL protesters take to the streets.Read the full story ›