Ban The Protests. Keep Our City Safe.

Birmingham riots of August 2009The City Centre Neighbourhood Forum has received a response from West Midlands Police regarding the planned protests from EDL and UAF (English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism) in Birmingham on 5th September.

In the response, the Chief Superintendent says, “The ability to protest is a fundamental democratic right and one we are in no position to make any political or moral judgement about.”

As a Liberal and believer in free speech, I appreciate this statement. But hold on, are we asking the Police to take a political or moral judgement? No! We are asking them to ensure violence does not erupt on our streets for the second time in a month. We are asking them to keep residents of the city centre, shoppers and visitors safe on what will be a busy Saturday afternoon.

What concerns me is these further comments from the Chief Superintendent: “At this stage we believe two groups intend to protest peacefully, and would urge those seeking to use the situation to commit criminal acts to think carefully about their involvement.”

Intend to protest peacefully?

Let's remind ourselves of the events of 8th August. These two so-called peaceful protests in different locations quickly turned sour and led to over 30 arrests in ugly scenes that I never want to see repeated on our city's streets.

A repeat set of protests, held so soon after the last and very deliberately on the day of an England football match, WILL cause further trouble, of that I have no doubt. It is a deliberate call-to-action for all those who are “up for a ruck” and I am disappointed the Police are not taking this viewpoint.

Ban the EDL and UAF protests. Keep our streets safe.

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