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Wednesday, 1 August, 2001, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Anti-Nazi league rally banned
Anti-Nazi League demonstration
An Anti-Nazi League rally had been planned for 1 September
A new order has been issued by the Home Secretary to prevent public assemblies in Burnley from 31 August until 4 September.

The ban supplements a similar three-month ban preventing marches until the end of August.

The move follows a request by the Anti-Nazi League to organise a mass demonstration in the wake of recent racial disturbances.

Lancashire Police and Burnley Borough Council said they feared the event could have been "a catalyst for further unrest and disorder".

It is not the intention to stifle democratic debate.

Stuart Caddy, Burnley Council
The anti-racist organisation had intended to hold the rally, which it described as a "carnival", in the Lancashire town on 1 September.

David Blunkett granted the council permission to impose the ban within a five-mile radius of Towneley Hall, in Burnley's centre.

ANL spokeswoman Charlotte Smith said: "In the history of ANL carnivals they have never been attacked, there has never been any trouble.

"They have taken place in east London where the level of BNP activity is very high, where people have been stabbed.

"They have never ended in the kind of tension that people have been fearing."
Duke of York pub
The Duke of York pub was burnt out during rioting

Up to 3,000 people were expected to attend the event.

Rioting in Burnley erupted on 24 June after a racist attack on an Asian taxi driver by a gang of white men.

Chief Superintendent John Knowles said: "A mass demonstration of between 2,000 and 3,000 people in Burnley would have had the potential to attract others opposed to it."

"The risk of serious trouble was considered to be very high, which is why the joint request by the police and council was made."

Council leader Stuart Caddy said the order "has to be taken out to ensure community safety continues to be our top priority".

See also:

26 Jun 01 | UK
Fragile calm in Burnley
25 Jun 01 | UK
Race riot town in talks
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