UPDATED: Police strike deal with English Defence League to enable them to march in Newcastle tomorrow (From The Northern Echo)
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UPDATED: Police strike deal with English Defence League to enable them to march in Newcastle tomorrow
POLICE say they have come to a compromise with the English Defence League over plans to march in Newcastle tomorrow.
The far right group had wanted to hold a protest in the West End of Newcastle at lunchtime, despite requests from Northumbria Police the march be rerouted.
The EDL wanted to march through what police describe as a “highly populated, residential area” of the city.
Chief constable Sue Sim had said talks with the EDL, held over “a number of weeks”, had failed to agree an alternative route.
She said the march "posed a risk to public safety, will cause people fear in their own homes and create significant disruption as people try to go about their daily lives."
However, tonight, the Chief Constable said a deal had been struck between the police and the EDL.
"We can confirm that late this afternoon the EDL agreed a route for their march and assembly tomorrow," she said.
"They will congregate in the Bigg Market at 1pm and will march along Collingwood Street, up Westgate Road, along St James Boulevard, onto Barrack Road and then into Leazes Park where they will hold their assembly."
Mrs Sim said after an hour in Leazes Park the EDL will march back to the Bigg Market where they will then disperse.
"We are pleased that a compromise has been agreed but would remind everyone that our position has not changed and we will not allow a march in the west end of Newcastle," she said.
"Newcastle is a peaceful city and we expect everyone taking part in any events tomorrow to behave appropriately and to respect other people's rights to go about their daily lives safely and with the minimum of disruption."
A counter demonstration by Newcastle Unites, including trade unionists and anti-fascist groups, has agreed to police requests to relocate and will meet at the City Hall at noon.
However, police are warning the city centre will be especially busy as it is already hosting a variety of events including a cycle ride, an annual march by the Apprentice Boys of Derry, an event to celebrate the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia and an evening concert by pop group Little Mix.
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