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Tuesday, 31 July, 2001, 16:53 GMT 17:53 UK
NF Birmingham rally banned
race riots
Birmingham did not want scenes of racial violence
The government has bowed to pressure to ban a National Front rally in Birmingham this weekend.

Home Secretary David Blunkett has given his consent to Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police to ban all marches between 1 August and 31 October.

The move was welcomed by the council and police, who requested the ban amid fears of racial tension being ignited in the city.

We are determined to maintain public order and ensure that people's lives are not disrupted by those intent on disturbing the peace

Sir Edward Crew
The National Front had applied to stage the rally in the Stechford area of Birmingham on Saturday.

Home Office Minister Beverley Hughes said: "There is a clear tactic by far right groups to deliberately stir up trouble in our communities.

"The government cannot and will not sit back and allow this to happen.

"This is not about democratic and peaceful protest, it is about extremist groups trying to create havoc and damage in our towns and cities, leaving the community to pick up the pieces after they have gone."

She added that the government was fully supportive of moves by police and local authorities to stop mindless violence "blighting" other communities.

"Good for everyone in Birmingham"
Sir Michael Lyons, Birmingham City Council chief executive, said the government's decision was good for everyone in Birmingham.

West Midlands Police chief constable Sir Edward Crew said: "We are determined to maintain public order and ensure that people's lives are not disrupted by those intent on disturbing the peace.

"It is important that the people of Birmingham stand together and by having nothing to so with these groups shows that outsiders can't come into our communities and disrupt our daily lives."

Mr Blunkett has already banned all marches through Bradford, Burnley, Oldham and Blackburn for three months following race riots.

Earlier this week, Birmingham City Council leader Albert Bore told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the council did not want to see marches of any kind in the city, whether they were by the National Front or Anti-Nazi League.

He added the National Front had been active in the city in the past few weeks but said it had been a "low key presence".

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