Saturday, 4 February 2012


This open letter from City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby to the people of Leicester appears on the front page of today's Leicester Mercury:
Don't let protests tear our city apart
Hundreds of people are expected to arrive in our city today to join marches led by the English Defence League and Leicester Unite Against Fascism.
There are very few people who want these marches to take place. But, fortunately, we live in a democracy and people have a right to demonstrate.
This means that we have to allow them to come here, but can impose controls on what they do.
In October 2010, marches were banned but there were demonstrations that brought the city centre to a standstill for much of the day.
This time, by allowing controlled marches with very strict conditions, we believe we can greatly reduce the disruption and get things back to normal much more quickly.
Leicestershire police have been working incredibly hard to prepare for today.
I would like to commend Chief Superintendent Rob Nixon, the city centre commander, and all of those involved for their professionalism and expertise.
I would like to ask all of our citizens – young and old – to remember these marches will be over in a couple of hours.
We must not do anything that will allow them to pull our communities apart or have any kind of lasting impact.
I also call on those planning to join the marches to follow the conditions that have been set by the police for your safety, and to show you can exercise your democratic right in a peaceful way.
All at the council have been working very closely with the police to ensure that in the main it will be business as usual this weekend.
Saturday night sees the second night of Leicester Comedy Festival – one of the biggest and best events in the city's cultural calendar.
Several hundred people will be coming to the city for this, and they are very welcome.
This is what Leicester is all about – a warm, friendly and peaceful city with something for everyone.
Please come into the city and enjoy the shows, the shops and restaurants and let's ensure today is remembered for the right reasons.

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