Controversial group the English Defence League (EDL) has revealed it will hold a protest in Leicester next month. The EDL – whose stated aim is to oppose Islamic extremism – said about 3,000 members would be involved in the demonstration, on Saturday, October 9. Critics say EDL is a far-right group whose demonstrations have led to violence in other UK cities.
Anti-fascist movement Searchlight said the EDL was in Leicester for “one reason only”. Spokesman Simon Cressy said: “They’re a walking time bomb who bring disharmony and disruption wherever they go.”
Leicester Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is planning a counter-demonstration. A spokesman said: “Leicester UAF is building opposition to this proposed demonstration. Previous EDL marches have seen shops and houses vandalised, people attacked and racist chanting. They do not represent the majority of people in this country.”
Councillor Manjula Sood, leader of the Leicester Council of Faiths, said: “We saw what happened in Bradford and we don’t want the same thing here in Leicester. We have built a reputation of community cohesion. We are not perfect but other cities look to us as an example of cohesion and we don’t want to damage that.”