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Tuesday, 24 September, 2002, 18:50 GMT 19:50 UK
National Front march is banned
National Front demonstration
Police feared trouble if the march went ahead
The home secretary has banned an anti-Islamic protest planned in Leicester by the National Front.

The NF had planned to march through the city on Saturday.

A spokesman for the party described the ban as "fascist" and said members would arrive in the city regardless to protest against it.

Police and council members took the decision to apply for a ban after they talked to community groups who feared the march could cause serious public disorder.

Strong message

A spokesman for the Home Office said David Blunkett had agreed a local authority request to prohibit marches in Leicester from 28 September 28 to 27 October.

"These orders are made by local authorities on clear advice from the police with the consent of the Home Secretary.

"They are not intended to prevent free speech but to ensure public order and safety."


This decision sends a clear signal that such events are not welcome in Leicester

Ross Willmott, Leicester City Council leader

Leicestershire Police said they had received a "strong message" against the march from all communities.

"They believe this march is aimed at trying to alienate and isolate particular people," said Acting Chief Constable David Lindley.

Leicester City Council leader Ross Willmott said: "I am sure that communities across Leicester will share my delight that David Blunkett has supported our application for this march to be banned.

"It is vital that all of us stand shoulder-to-shoulder to prevent the National Front intimidating any community in our city.

'Law-abiding'

"This decision sends a clear signal that such events are not welcome in Leicester and we will continue to do everything in our power to prevent them taking place."

National Front spokesman John Reynolds said he was disappointed by the ban but members of his party would still congregate in the city on Saturday.

He said: "It is very disappointing really because Leicester claims to be a harmonious society and welcome diversity.

"We are not there to cause trouble.

"We now hope to now hold a protest against the ban itself and hand out leaflets and sell the party newspaper.

"We are a law-abiding party and they have got to give us a voice."


Click here to go to Leicester
See also:

16 Nov 01 | England
29 May 01 | England
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