Police prepare for EDL protest in Swindon

The chief of Wiltshire Police says the force is prepared to deal with a protest march planned by the far right English Defence League next month. Chief Constable Brian Moore says he had to respect the right of people to protest peacefully and hoped the event would not give rise to violence.

The English Defence League, an anti-Muslim group formed in 2009, says on its website that it is planning a day of protests in Swindon, Preston and the West Midlands on November 20. It is feared the EDL might be planning to hold the march in Manchester Road, one of the most multi-cultural areas of town and very close to the site of a proposed new mosque.

South West Trades Union Council regional secretary Nigel Costley said the TUC was joining with community and campaign groups to call for a ban of the EDL if rumours of the protest march in the town proved to be true.

He said: “The EDL is a toxic mix of right-wing racists and football hooligans. They pick areas with Asian communities to stir violent reactions. Plans for a new mosque on Manchester Road in Swindon will be exploited by the EDL to push their anti-Islamic views.”

Swindon Advertiser, 24 October 2010