UPDATED: ‘You’re not welcome!’ Councils condemn EDL plans to protest in Aylesbury

The EDL during their last visit to Aylesbury in 2010
The EDL during their last visit to Aylesbury in 2010
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The English Defence League is to protest in Aylesbury in October, five years after they last held a demonstration in the town.

The far right group are planning action on Saturday October 10.

A joint statement from all three councils said: “Aylesbury Vale District Council, Aylesbury Town Council and Bucks County Council wish to make it clear that they do not welcome the EDL’s visit to Aylesbury or any other place in the Vale and are disappointed that they have chosen to come here.

“None of the councils or the police have the power to ban the demonstration, which is expected to take place on 10 October.

“The EDL has the right to peaceful demonstration and the police have the duty to facilitate this.

“Our collective focus is on ensuring that the demonstration causes minimal disruption to businesses, residents and visitors and that the town remains open for business as usual.

“Many people may remember the previous EDL visit to Aylesbury in 2010.

“More recent demonstrations held elsewhere in the country have passed without incident.

“Town centres have continued to trade as normal and that is our intention for Aylesbury if the demonstration is confirmed.

“Discussions will be held with the EDL to agree the arrangements for the demonstration and the needs of local people and businesses will be at the forefront of these.”

Thames Valley Police has confirmed it is also working alongside organisers ahead of the demonstration.

A spokesman said: “Our aim is always to ensure that the impact on local people, businesses and visitors is minimised.

“Discussions are being held with the EDL to agree the arrangements for the demonstration and the needs of local people and businesses will be at the forefront of these.

“We recognise the potential impact of any demonstration in Aylesbury and we ask for the support of all sections of the community.”

The previous EDL visit to Aylesbury in May 2010 was a largely peaceful day of protests.

On the day, there was also a counter demonstration by Unite Against Fascism.

Lib Dem counsellor Steven Lambert, said: “I’m really sad they’re coming back to spread their message of hate in Aylesbury when actually we have really good community relations right across the board.

“I respect people’s right to protest but not to spread hatred and fear.

“That is not the kind of town Aylesbury is - they are coming to the wrong place.

“Five years ago it was a damp squib. I’m hoping this will be too. It is a good idea not to board up the town this time or having a massive police presence.

“Yes, we’ll need to be vigilant. But we won’t be having our livelihood and lives disrupted by this despicable group.”