I have just discovered that the English Defence League will be allowed to march through our streets before assembling for a rally in All Saints Square in a week’s time.
The EDL is to hold a national demonstration in our town on Saturday 10 May…the day that Rotherham United could be at home in front of a full house in the play off semi final. It seems that South Yorkshire Police are bending over backwards to welcome the EDL.
The decision to allow them to congregate in the centre of town on a Saturday afternoon when 12,000 football fans could be in town as well as shoppers is baffling to say the least.
The last time the EDL visited Rotherham they spent a couple of hours getting tanked up outside the County Borough and Angel pubs; hurling abuse at passers by and chanting racist comments before marching through town to assemble outside the Town Hall. Afterwards there were scuffles with police on Main Street and Bridge Street.
Our fragile local economy can ill afford the impact of an EDL gathering smack bang in the middle of town. All Saints Square is the main thoroughfare for shoppers and the EDL’s presence will cut the town in two.
Other towns and cities are much less accommodating than South Yorkshire Police and many choose only to allow the EDL to congregate away from shoppers and town centres. In Rotherham we might as well give them the freedom of the borough. I have no doubt that they will return time and again if they are given such a warm welcome by the boys and girls in blue.
The decision is crazy!