Conditions to prevent “serious disorder” have been imposed on a march and rally being planned by the British National Party (BNP) this Saturday.
The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), using Section 12 and 14 of the Public Order Act 1986, has set conditions that the BNP march and rally must take place between 1pm and 4pm between Old Palace Yard and the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
The BNP had applied to hold the event from Woolwich Barracks, close to where Drummer Lee Rigby was killed in a brutal attack last Wednesday, to the Lewisham Islamic Centre, which Scotland Yard said resulted in a “number of groups indicating they wished to attend to hold counter protests”.
Scotland Yard continued: “The information and intelligence available to the MPS meant that it was necessary to impose the conditions to prevent the demonstration from resulting in serious disorder, serious damage to property, and/or serious disruption to the life of the community.”
The MPS said attempts to change the route of the march via negotiation were unsuccessful, and is warning people that breach of the imposed conditions is a criminal offence and could result in arrests.
Commander Simon Letchford said: “The murder of Lee Rigby in Woolwich last week shocked our city. The right to protest is a fundamental part of our society, however, such an evocative mix of views being expressed in communities still hurting from Lee’s murder could have resulted in ugly scenes on our streets.
“Those communities have made it clear to us the impact that groups expressing extreme views has upon them. We have listened to those concerns following Lee Rigby’s murder, and we will keep working with all our communities.
“We know that when groups with conflicting views come together it can create tension and disorder. What we have had to carefully consider is how to balance the right to protest with the negative impact on our communities and potential violence and disorder that may have resulted from these protests going ahead as they were suggested.
“If you want to protest on Saturday we ask that you do so peacefully, no matter what your view. We will work with you to enable that protest to go ahead. What we will also do is fulfill our duty to prevent crime and keep peace on our streets.
“The support we have received so far from Londoners has been outstanding, I would urge people to continue to show restraint and calm. We must continue to be a city that stands together.”
Update: See “BNP leader Nick Griffin urges supporters to ignore police ban on planned march at scene of Drummer Lee Rigby’s brutal murder””, Independent, 30 May 2013
Update 2: See “BNP Woolwich Lee Rigby march moves to Westminster”, This is Local London, 31 May 2013