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EDL protest over claims of child sex grooming rise

EDL members gather outside the Old Post Office pub in Halifax ahead of a march and rally in protest at what they allege is a rise in child grooming in Yorkshire.

There is a heavy police presence in the town ahead of the march which is expected to begin at around 1.30pm.

Members of the English Defence League gather ahead of a march and rally in Halifax this afternoon

EDL demo over Rotheram child sex abuse

An estimated 1,200 members of the English Defence League are expected to march through Rotherham town centre this afternoon between 1pm and 3pm, in the wake of the damning report into child sex abuse in the town.

English Defence League protestors Credit: ITV Yorkshire

An EDL camp has been in place outside Rotherham's Main Street police station ever since the publication of the report which revealed 1,400 children were abused over a 16 year period largely by Pakistani men.

Officers from neighbouring forces are expected to be drafted in today to bolster numbers on the ground in Rotherham.

A counter-demonstration is due to take place by Unite Against Fascism.

People in Rotherham and beyond are understandably shocked by the revelations of recent weeks and want to express their concern and anger about what happened.

"There are victims of child sexual exploitation who were let down by us in the past - they did not receive the necessary protection and support they should be able to expect and we fully acknowledge our previous failings.

"The force is committed to tackling CSE and has taken steps to address this. We have requested an independent investigation into our handling of CSE and the Chief Constable is in ongoing dialogue with the Independent Police Complaints Commission to ensure any individuals and organisations found to be at fault are held to account.

"We respect an individual's democratic right to protest and additional officers will be on duty to ensure a peaceful and safe protest for all. However, if people are attending with the intention of causing or participate in disorder, they will be identified and dealt with.

"The event is likely to cause some disruption for local business and the public with road closures taking place for public safety. We will be looking to minimise any disruption where possible.

"I would like to thank everyone for their co-operation while this is ongoing and to know that we, with our partners, will strive to make the day as safe as possible."

– Chief Supt Jason Harwin, South Yorkshire Police Commander for Rotherham

The EDL demonstrators will gather at a muster point at the Town Hall at 1pm and then begin marching to Main Street at 1.30pm.

They will travel from the Town Hall, along Moorgate Street, onto Church Street, left onto Market Street, left onto Market Place, right onto Westgate, and will arrive at Main Street at around 2pm, where there will be speeches before they disperse at around 3pm.

UAF demonstrators will gather at All Saints Square at 1pm and then make their way to the Town Hall.

Road closures will be in place on the day and people are advised to plan their journeys in advance. Road closures are as follows:

Main Street (from the junction with Centenary Way to the Market Street junction) Wilfred Street (at the junction with Westgate) Moorgate Street (at the junction with Grove Street) Westgate (at the junction with Main Street)

Diversions will be in place at Corporation Street, Moorgate Street (at the junction with Mansfield Road), and Canklow Road (at the junction with Old Sheffield Road).

The following roads will be closed for the duration of the marching phase only:

Westgate (junction with Wilfred Street) Market Street (junction with Domine Lane)

As it's part of the protest route and the final assembly point, the enquiry desk at Rotherham Police Station, in Main Street, will be closed from 9pm on Friday (12 September) and will reopen again at 8am on Monday (15 September).

Between 8am and 10pm on Saturday 13 September, and between 10am and 6pm on Sunday 14 September, enquiry desk services will relocate to Rawmarsh Police Station, In Green Lane, Rawmarsh.

Alternatively, the enquiry desk at Snig Hill Police Station in Sheffield city centre is open to the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


Police hunt EDL thug

Transport Police are appealing for witnesses after several youths were assaulted at Paragon Station in Hull. The large group were at the front of the station at about 6.30pm on July 14 when a man wearing a Grimsby English Defence League (EDL) top launched an assault on them.