EDL clash with police during a march in Leicester 2010
EDL clash with police during a march in Leicester 2010

Anti-fascist protesters have warned police they will confront the English Defence League (EDL) in Leicester city centre on Saturday rather than following a pre-planned route drawn up to keep the two groups apart.

United Against Fascism (UAF) has decided to ignore the routes given to them by Leicester police and will instead hold a static demonstration at the city-centre clock tower, a point EDL supporters are due to march past.

"The police designed the march but it's in the middle of nowhere so we said we'll do the static protest like we did last year," said Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of the UAF.

"If we are to go on a march, it should be a significant march in a significant area. Giving the EDL the freedom of the city and telling anti-racists to march away is wrong.

"So we are going to gather peacefully at the clock tower and not march and have a static demonstration."

The move by the UAF has been described as "grossly irresponsible" by Leicester mayor Sir Peter Soulsby who warned against a repeat of the violence that erupted in the city during the last EDL march through Leicester in October 2010.

"The people of Leicester do not want disorder on the streets of their city and it would be grossly irresponsible of people not to recognise that," said Soulsby.

"The police have made it very clear what will happen to people who go for confrontation."

Both groups were due to arrive at their pre-arranged assembly points at 11am and begin their separate marches at 12:30pm.

Chief Supt Rob Nixon said: "To help ensure everything runs smoothly, the police have placed a number of conditions on both protest groups.

"Any person taking part who knowingly fails to comply with the conditions is guilty of an offence for which they may be arrested."

Leicester has a large ethnic minority population, particularly of south Asian origin. It is believed to be on course to become the first city in the UK where white citizens are in the minority.

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