A series of marches by the English Defence League has been banned amid fears of serious public disorder.
Policing minister Damian Green agreed to a police request for the ban ahead of marches on Saturday in Walthamstow and elsewhere in north-east London.
The ban prevents all marches in Waltham Forest and nearby boroughs Islington, Tower Hamlets and Newham for 30 days.
The Metropolitan Police wrote to Home Secretary Theresa May asking for the ban two days ago.
Mr Green said: “Having carefully considered the legal tests and balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected, I have given my consent to a ban on all marches in Waltham Forest and three nearby boroughs for a 30-day period.
“I know the Metropolitan Police are committed to using their powers to ensure communities and properties are protected.”
Ch Supt Peter Terry, the force’s gold commander for the planned march, said: “We have made this decision based on specific intelligence and information and our message is clear – we do not want people coming into the areas to attend these events.”
See also “Home Office bans EDL march”, Waltham Forest Council news report, 25 October 2012
Update: Local MP Stella Creasy has reported that the Met have told the EDL that they can hold Saturday’s static protest outside parliament but nowhere else, i.e. not in Walthamstow at all.
If this is accurate, then it means that the police have finally responded to the threat from the EDL as they should have done all along – they have used Section 13 of the Public Order Act to secure a ban on the proposed march and then used their powers under Section 14 to impose conditions on the static demonstration to ensure that it causes the minimum disruption and intimidation to the community the EDL have targeted.
Update 2: The EDL has confirmed that the Met have imposed restrictions under Section 14 and warns: “Please do not attend Walthamstow on Sat 27th Oct 2012 as you will be arrested.”
Update 3: See also “Walthamstow: Police ‘ban’ EDL static protest”, Waltham Forest Guardian, 26 October 2012