Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham protests: Extra 1,000 officers for EDL demos

More than 1,000 extra officers will be on duty in Birmingham for an English Defence League (EDL) protest and a counter demonstration on Saturday.

EDL supporters are set to be in the city centre's Centenary Square with opposition groups due to protest in Chamberlain Square at the same time.

Some of the additional officers are being drafted in from other forces across the country.

EDL leader Tommy Robinson said members intended to hold a "peaceful protest".

'Heightened tensions'

Mr Robinson said: "Members of the English Defence League wish to exercise our democratic rights by going to the city of Birmingham and holding a peaceful protest.

"If we're violently attacked on Saturday there will be a reaction to it and people will wish to defend themselves."

Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe said the police and city council had no powers to ban "static protests".

Ms Rowe said: "We are aware some communities, locations or individuals might feel vulnerable given the nature of the protests, as well as heightened tensions following the explosion in Tipton at the weekend.

"A large-scale, substantial and visible policing operation is in place across the whole of the West Midlands.

"This will not end when all those involved in the protests go home on Saturday night - we will continue to work with communities and provide additional patrols across the city long after the protesters have left."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites