Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Friday, 4 December 2009

Protesters head for Market Square

Robin Hood statue boarded up
The Robin Hood statue has been boarded up to prevent damage

A police plan to keep a demonstration away from Old Market Square in Nottingham is being ignored by protesters from Unite Against Fascism.

The group plan to gather to oppose an assembly by the English Defence League near Nottingham Castle on Saturday.

As police gear up to keep the two sides apart the city's streets are expected to be thronged with Christmas shoppers, football supporters and the protesters.

The Mercian Regiment is also marching through the city on Saturday morning.

Senior officers have been gearing up for a major operation to stop any violence during a planned protest against "radical Islam" in the city.

Troops parade

Dozens of extra officers are being drafted in to police the city centre event organised by the English Defence League (EDL).

The counter-protest will be held by Unite Against Fascism who plan to assemble at 1000 GMT in Old Market Square despite police plans for the group to keep them on Friar Lane at the top of Castle Road.

And the parade by the Mercian Regiment, who recently returned from Afghanistan, will start at 1030 GMT at St Mary's Church, Lace Market before the troops move along Middle Pavement, Wheeler Gate, Beastmarket Hill and Long Row.

The salute will be taken by Lord Mayor Councillor Jeannie Packer and Lord Lieutenant Sir Andrew Buchanan outside Debenhams at 1120 GMT.

Jon Collins, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: "Our first aim is to ensure that Nottingham is open for business as usual for visitors, shoppers, workers and businesses."

The statue of Robin Hood outside Nottingham Castle has been boarded up to prevent damage during the protests.

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Buxton Today 11 held as protest turns violent - 4 hrs ago
Heart Radio Cheshire Anti-Islamic Protesters Held After Clashes - 5 hrs ago
Belper Today City crowds welcome regiment home - 9 hrs ago
Stroud News and Journal Violence erupts at anti-Islam demo - 11 hrs ago
Observer English Defence League marchers clash with police in Nottingham - 11 hrs ago

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