This letter is published in today's Leicester Mercury:
It is in all our interests that EDL march should not take place
It goes against my liberal instincts but I have to agree with Gary Garner (First Person, January 19) that it would be in all our interests if the proposed march by the English Defence League (EDL) should not take place.
Britain may be the world's oldest parliamentary democracy but the civil liberties that we enjoy (particularly the right to free association and free speech) were granted to us relatively recently.
They came about, not because of the enlightenment of governments and ruling powers, but as a result of sustained pressure by often small groups of courageous individuals, usually at great personal cost.
They were hard-won and we should use them responsibly.
Unfortunately, that is not what the EDL are doing. They are cynically and irresponsibly exploiting the system for their own ends.
If the proposed march were part of a legitimate political campaign against a gross and sustained breach of justice, if the participants would be screened by responsible organisers in conjunction with the authorities, if police had received categorical assurances, supported by a non-repayable bond, that the event would be non-violent, then, perhaps there would be grounds for allowing it.
None of these is true. On the contrary, the previous static demonstration suggests that the event will be little more than a day out for hooligans looking for a fight.
We should not be accommodating it in our city and we should certainly not be paying for it.
Nick Knight, Leicester