This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Marches: the sufferers were the city's residents
Sir Peter Soulsby is wrong to hail Saturday and the handling of the EDL/UAF marches as a success ("A job well done", Mercury, February 6).
Of course, I am pleased that there were no arrests.
However the crux of the matter is what the Leicester Mercury correctly identified in the same article: "…traders said their takings would be hit hard as many shoppers stayed away".
The reality is, despite talk of business as usual, most people chose to stay away from the city centre.
Leicester's residents should have the right and freedom to earn a living go shopping and go about their usual business on a Saturday.
The city's people should not suffer a loss of income and/or feel too frightened to go to the city centre because of misguided claims about the EDL's freedom of expression.
If the EDL threaten to come to Leicester again, I urge the Mayor to stand up for the people that voted for him and ban a march from taking place and instruct the police to impose a restriction on the whole of the city of Leicester that prevents any static assembly by the EDL.
This is possible under the Public Order Act.
Sabby Dhalu, (Unite Against Fascism joint secretary and former resident of Leicester), London