A CONTROVERSIAL protest group will not disrupt our town – that was the message ahead of a massive march threatening to take over Blackpool.
The English Defence League (EDL) are staging a protest on Saturday, May 28, with a major police operation planned for the protest route along the Promenade to South Pier.
Demonstrators are set to arrive in town from 10am, with businessman Robert Wynne’s pub The Sun Inn on Bolton Street, South Shore, one of those they’re expected to head to.
The former Blackpool mayor said: “We had a meeting with the police yesterday morning and they’re very keen to minimise disruption to the town, keep everybody safe and hopefully this will pass off without trouble and incident. They’ve asked us if we will be open and co-operate with their security measures. The pub is not associated with the EDL or its views and we’re just co-operating with police.”
The rally is calling for justice for missing Blackpool schoolgirl Charlene Downes, and the South Shore branch of Yates’s – where EDL protesters gathered before a smaller demonstration in March – is also expected to be affected.
The demonstration is scheduled to take place at the public headland close to South Pier between 12.45 and 2pm, following a short march along the Promenade from Britannia Place.
Police have stressed they are confident of a peaceful rally and Chief Supt Richard Debicki, Commander of Western Division, said: “Our top priority is the safety of the community, people visiting Blackpool on the day and the demonstrators themselves.
“This is a busy Bank Holiday for Blackpool and we want to make sure the resort remains open for business as usual on the day and that there is no disruption to daily life, although obviously there will be a highly visible police presence throughout the day.”