Police have advised English Defence League supporters to go the pub before Birmingham march. Reuters

English Defence League marchers are set to be shepherded straight into a pub by police in Birmingham.

The tactic by West Midlands police has raised a few eyebrows among EDL watchers familiar with the divisive group's protests, which regularly feature alcohol-fuelled confrontation.

Supporters of the far-right anti-Islam street gang are due to march in the city this weekend and the far-left Unite Against Fascism (UAF) group has organised a counter-demonstration.

Police officers have been told to ferry the EDL to a venue called Bar Risa, which sells alcoholic beverages for as little as £1.25 each.

There was controversy after it was claimed Bar Risa was 'ordered' to host EDL supporters by police. A spokesman for the establishment denied non-white staff were told not to come to work.

Superintendent Rich Baker said: "This has been a difficult and reluctant decision for the owners and we appreciate the support that Bar Risa is giving to this large-scale and complex policing operation."

Around 1,000 officers have been mobilised to police the demonstrations taking place simultaneously in the city centre.

The EDL said it was going to Birmingham to protest against the alleged 'Islamification' of some schools there, and also a proposal to build a mosque.

Condemning the decision to send the EDL to a bar, a UAF spokesman said: "Customers should be able to enjoy the venue at the times that it is open, catered by their multicultural staff, free from the racist thugs and their abuse which blighted our city last year."