English Defence League plans demonstration in Batley

Councillor Shabir Pandor calls for calm if rally goes ahead

The right-wing English Defence League is set to bring disruption to another Kirklees town.

It is two years since a huge rally brought Dewsbury town centre to a standstill.

Now, it has been revealed, the Yorkshire EDL Dewsbury Division is planning a “regional demonstration” in Batley on Saturday, July 19.

In June 2012 almost 500 EDL supporters met up outside Dewsbury Town Hall for speeches and a protest.

A counter demonstration was organised by Unite Against Fascism and the Trades Union Congress.

A big police operation swung into action to keep the rival factions apart. Policing and lost trade was said to have cost the economy around £500,000.

A similar rally was also held in Dewsbury the year before.

A post on the EDL Dewsbury Division’s Facebook page announced plans for the demonstration.

The post says the protest is against a Batley Islamic society’s plans to set up separate faith schools for boys and girls.

The statements adds: “Over the last few years Kirklees Council has stated that Kirklees is a wonderful, diverse, multi-cultural society.

Protestors and police in Old Market Place, Dewsbury, during an English Defence League demonstration on June 30, 2012.
 

“This applies (only) if you are a member of the Islamic community.”

The EDL is angry about what it claims is the growing influence of Sharia law and “racial discrimination against non-Muslims.”

Kirklees Council Cabinet member and Batley West Labour councillor Shabir Pandor was unaware of the demonstration until contacted by the Examiner.

“If this does go ahead I would ask the community to remain calm and not over-react,” he said.

“The Batley community should stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the EDL and all other extremist organisations. We cannot let them rule our community.”

Clr Pandor added: “Any form of unruly demonstration from extremists is a blight on society and it’s bad for the local economy and costly to the public purse.

“The EDL is not welcome.”

Insp Neil Money, of the Batley and Spen Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We are aware of the potential event, although we don’t know the full details at present.

“In the event that it does take place, we, our partners and communities, will work to ensure public safety and the free flow of daily business.”

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