English Defence League sets date for first march in Norwich

EDL supporters gather ahead of a march through Bristol. EDL supporters gather ahead of a march through Bristol.

Thursday, September 27, 2012
2:39 PM

The English Defence League will hold its first march in Norwich this November, citing a decision to ban a Christian bookstall as a reason for the demonstration.

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EDL supporters march through Bristol.EDL supporters march through Bristol.

Police confirmed they had been approached by the EDL about the protest for Saturday November 10, although a route is yet to be decided.

The EDL, which has 81 members on its Norwich Facebook page, listed the banning of Reverend Alan Clifford of the Norwich Reformed Church from using a market stall on Hay Hill as a reason for the march.

They believe the decision by Norwich City Council, following a complaint about anti-Islamic leaflets, violated freedom of speech.

On its website the EDL says it protests “peacefully”, but some marches have been marred by violence.

A campaign group called We are Norwich said it will hold a counter-protest to celebrate the city’s diversity.

Nick O’Brien from the group said: “The EDL do not represent the diverse, multi-cultural city.”

A police spokeswoman said: “We understand there may be concerns and feelings of vulnerability within a number of communities and we will be looking to work closely with the organisers, our partners and community leaders to help address these.”

Green Party councillor Lucy Galvin added: “Communities in Norwich have a long tradition of religious acceptance and living together respectfully.”

A Norwich City Council spokesman said the council would liaise with the police over the march.

The spokesman said: “We understand the march relates to a decision we took earlier this year following a complaint from a member of the public about published material which was considered to be hate-motivated.”

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