A group of church leaders, community groups and political partiesare preparing to unite against the English Defence League (EDL) this weekend.
EDL members are expected to descend upon Chelmsford town centre on Saturday, 18 August and United Chelmsford is preparing to march. The protest coincides with the first day of V Festival at Hylands Park.
United Chelmsford’s Celebration of Unity will be starting from Tindal Square at 11.30am and marching through the city at 1pm, the group expects their numbers to swell to 200 as they take a stand against the EDL.
Malcolm Wallace, Secretary of Chelmsford TUC, speaking on behalf of United Chelmsford, said: “This will be a magnificent demonstration of our City’s opposition to racism and islamophobia. The divisive policies of the EDL stand in sharp contrast to our multi-cultural Team GB and the spirit of the Olympics.”
A police spokesman said: “The English Defence League (EDL) have provided notification that they will be gathering to rally and protest in Chelmsford city centre around 1pm on Saturday. A large group of protesters, under the banner of Unite Against Fascism, (UAF) have informed police that they will also protest and march at the same time.”
United Chelmsford was set up two weeks ago after the EDL staged a rally on Saturday, 21 July against a proposed mosque in Regina Road. Three men were arrested and were held on suspicion of committing racially aggravated public order offences. A 35-year-old from Rochester, Kent, a 19-year-old from Dagenham and an 18-year-old from Yateley, Hampshire, are due to answer bail on 9 September.
The proposed mosque would replace a house in the road where Muslims have gathered to pray for more than 20 years.