The far right group the English Defence League will protest in Manchester today. Planned as a national coming together to support their cause, the EDL’s protest will be flanked by hundreds of Greater Manchester Police.
A counter demonstration will also be held by left wing group Unite Against Fascism.
It will take place at 1pm in Albert square and much of the city centre will be shut to traffic for most of the day. The last Manchester EDL rally in 2009 cost the council and police £800,000.
Yesterday an open letter signed by numerous city leaders including police commissioner Tony Lloyd and leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese, urged people to 'turn their back' on the EDL.
Chief Superintendent John O'Hare said;
"I understand that these events are emotive and polarise the views of individuals but we must respect everyone's right to a legal and peaceful protest and I want to make it clear to anyone who is coming with the sole intention of intimidating communities or inciting violence and racism, that we will take action against you.
“Both groups will hold their demonstrations in the afternoon at a time when families and shoppers will be visiting Manchester in large numbers.
“I want to reassure everyone who lives, works and socialises in Manchester that a police operation will be taking place, which is aimed at both ensuring residents and visitors are allowed to go about their business, while protecting people's democratic right to protest.
"There will be a large policing presence and if you have any concerns please feel free to speak to my officers.