Tuesday, 7 February 2012


This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
EDL allowed to dictate
On Saturday, I came into Leicester, the city I grew up in, the city I love and, even though I live 50 miles away, the city that will always be my home.
I knew the English Defence League (EDL) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) were being allowed to march on the day and I fully accept that in a democracy, people should be allowed to meet and let their feelings be known.
However, even though it was a bitterly cold afternoon, I was shocked at how quiet the city centre was.
The decision to allow the EDL to march through the heart of this great city seems to have caused many people to stay away. Surely it should be the job of an elected Mayor to stand up for the vast majority and refuse to allow a group (let's not forget, a group that has already brought damage and destruction to this city in 2010) to "gloat" at their march victory?
Even if for political fairness, Mayor Soulsby thought marches were acceptable, it's galling that the EDL, after coming from all over the UK, were given a prime route into the city centre while the UAF, trade unions and ordinary people of Leicester were forced to march on a fringe route.
That local people opposed to the EDL were treated so badly is shameful.
Far from putting the interests of the people and traders of Leicester first, Mayor Soulsby has allowed 500 to 700 people, many of whom have no connection with the city, to dictate what happens.
The EDL have gone back to hide under their rocks, the police have driven back to their bases and pocketed a big chunk of overtime at the people and traders of Leicester's expense.
If the EDL are to be allowed to meet in Leicester again as part of their "democratic right", may I suggest that its limited to a space outside the city? The moon, perhaps? Although that would be unfair to the Clangers and Soup Dragon.
Andrew Burrows, Newton, Derbyshire

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