Police warning ahead of EDL protest in Blackburn

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Police have said they will not tolerate acts of violence or damage when up to 4,500 people descend on Blackburn town centre for protests next month.

Members of the English Defence League (EDL), Muslim Defence League and Unite Against Facism (UAF) are all expected to stage demonstrations on 2 April.

Police said they were working to minimise the impact on the community and would facilitate peaceful protests.

Blackburn with Darwen Council said the town would be open for business.

The EDL is being allowed to demonstrate outside King George's Hall for one hour while a counter demonstration will take place at Sudell Cross.

Some roads will be affected, including temporary closures, but officials said they were working hard to make sure that people could "go about their daily business as usual".

Damage 'not tolerated'

Ch Supt Bob Eastwood said: "We will police the demonstration as we would any public event and we will facilitate a peaceful protest.

"Day-to-day policing in Lancashire will carry on as normal and we have detailed plans in place to deal with any issues on the day.

"We will have specially-trained officers policing the demonstration.

"Our role is to facilitate peaceful protest. If anyone commits a criminal offence they will be dealt with fairly but firmly.

"The police will not tolerate damage to the town or acts of violence and I would urge anyone thinking of coming to Blackburn to attend either demonstration to bear this in mind."

Tom Stannard, of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: "The bulk of the town centre will remain open for business.

"This borough has a strong track record of good community relations and will continue to support all our community groups and representatives should they have any concerns about this demonstration."

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