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Police will not allow EDL march in Newcastle's West End, says Commissioner

An English Defence League march is due to take place in Newcastle tomorrow.

Vera Baird, the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, has issued a statement.

The Chief Constable has made an operational decision that no march or demonstration should be allowed in the west end of Newcastle on March 17, and, although I do not make operational decisions, as the Police and Crime Commissioner I agree and support her wholeheartedly. Few people would wish to have their communities disrupted in that way, including probably those who want to protest.

In previous demonstrations, protests and marches by the English Defence League (EDL), they have accepted the request to discuss the route and the details with Northumbria Police, who have a good history of protecting the right to protest whilst ensuring that people who are not involved are not seriously inconvenienced. It is disappointing that the EDL have refused to give details of their plans to the police. I would appeal to them to make contact now and agree reasonable arrangements as usual."

– Vera Baird, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner

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Police: EDL march "will cause fear in people's homes"

An English Defence League march is due to take place in Newcastle tomorrow, prompting the following statement from Northumbria Police:

“Northumbria Police has been speaking to organisers from the English Defence League for a number of weeks following their announcement that they want to hold a march in Newcastle on Saturday, May 17. The EDL expressed an intention to march in the west end of the city through a highly populated, residential area.

We have made our position clear that we do not support this as the impact on the local community is too great. It poses a risk to public safety, will cause people fear in their own homes and create significant disruption as people try to go about their daily lives.

We explained this to Newcastle Unites, who also wished to march in the west end, and they compromised and agreed an alternative route in the city centre.

Regrettably, this time EDL organisers have not been prepared to compromise on an alternative route, although we would remind them we are still prepared to discuss alternatives. Those planning to attend should be aware there has been no agreement with police with regards to meeting points or route locations.

We have an excellent history of harmonious relations between all our communities and the public should rest assured that their safety remains our priority. We will not allow anything to disrupt their way of life or any marches to take place in residential areas.

Our neighbourhood officers, known to local communities, together with other officers will be out and about in the run up to and throughout Saturday to reassure local people and answer any questions they may have. "

– Chief Constable Sue Sim, Northumbria Police

Protests in former pit village

The English Defence League carried out a protest in County Durham this weekend over plans to transform a building into a Muslim Community Centre.

The EDL was countered by anti fascist groups who also gathered in Shotton Colliery.

More than a hundred police officers were present and one arrest was made.

Watch Frances Read's report:

Full report: EDL march in Newcastle

Police are maintaining a heavy presence in Newcastle, after around 2,000 English Defence League (EDL) supporters marched through the city and met head on with hundreds of anti-fascist campaigners who had organised their own rally.

EDL members travelled from across the country. The demonstrations from each side were kept under control, however pockets of violence broke out, with 24 arrests.

Watch Rachel Bullock's report here:

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Northumbria Police: Extra officers will continue to be in the city

Northumbria Police say extra police will remain in Newcastle city centre after today's protests.

Police say there were no major problems connected to this afternoon's protests by the English Defence League (EDL) and Newcastle Unites.

Police have also confirmed between 1,500 and 2,000 people took part in the EDL protest and around 350 to 400 in the Newcastle Unites protest.

"I am pleased this protest passed off without major incident. Disruption was kept to a minimum and we are grateful for the support we received from local communities.

"There were a number of arrests over the course of the day, mainly to do with alcohol or to prevent public order offences, however the vast majority of those taking part were well behaved.

"Most of the arrests took place before the protests started and were part of a proactive strategy by police to avoid disorder and to minimise disruption.

"I would like to thank all those officers, and staff at partner organisations, who have worked so hard to make today a success.

"Extra officers will continue to be in the city for what is a busy weekend for Newcastle."

– Newcastle Chief Superintendent Gary Calvert

EDL march: some violence, police close major street

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