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May authorises blanket ban in city

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Home secretary Theresa May has authorised a blanket ban on marches in Leicester on the day of a planned protest by a right-wing campaign group.

The English Defence League (EDL) intended to demonstrate in Leicester on Saturday 9 October and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) planned a protest in the city on the same day.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Having carefully balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected, the Home Secretary gave her consent to a Leicester City Council Order banning any marches in the city on October 9.”

Despite the ban, groups could still hold static demonstrations in the city.

The Home Office spokesman added: “Leicestershire Constabulary are committed to using their powers to ensure communities and properties are protected and we encourage all local people to work with the police to ensure community cohesion is not undermined by public disorder.”

Leicester City Council applied for the ban at the request of the police after formal notification was received that both the EDL and UAF intended to march in the city.

Sheila Lock, right, Leicester City Council’s chief executive, said: “We welcome the Home Secretary giving her consent for the council to impose an order banning any public processions, including marches, in Leicester city during the weekend of 9 October.

“Even though the Home Secretary has given her consent it does not prevent any static protests taking place, which are still lawful provided they remain peaceful, as we, nor the police, have legal powers to prevent them.

“There are lots of activities being planned during the coming week to celebrate Leicester and I’d encourage people to join in.”

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