Parts of Cambridge could be “shut down” by police because of Saturday’s English Defence League (EDL) rally in a city park. The far-right group will be fenced in on a corner of Christ’s Pieces next to Drummer Street bus station where they will have a stage and speakers.
More than 400 officers will police the event as well as a counter-demonstration by Cambridge Unite Against Fascism (CUAF). The Cambridgeshire force has cancelled all leave for officers on Saturday.
But there has been criticism of the choice of the park. Tony Carter, chairman of Cambridgeshire TUC, said: “We were shocked when we heard the EDL would be in Christ’s Pieces right next to the bus station and the playground. Lots of families pass through the park and children use it to play in.”
The EDL assembly will happen from 2-4pm and CUAF will gather in Petersfield at noon before marching through the city, passing the EDL twice.
The marchers will walk on pavements and walkways from East Road to Burleigh Street, Fitzroy Street, New Square, Christ’s Pieces, Emmanuel Street, St Andrew’s Street into Sidney Street, Green Street, Trinity Street, Market Street and Market Hill, before returning along the same route to East Road crossing over to Norfolk Street, Gwydir Street, Mill Road and back to Petersfield.
During their last protest in Cambridge, in July 2011, the EDL tried to break through police lines to get at a mosque and later attacked a Muslim bookstall.