Kirklees' top cop, Tim Kingsman, has warned members of the English Defence League and Unite against Fascism to behave ahead of major demonstrations in Batley on Saturday.

Several hundred police officers are to be deployed in and around Batley and surrounding areas in an attempt to help traders and residents go about their normal business.

The Yorkshire EDL Batley Division called for the national demonstration in protest at what they have described as the Islamisation of Batley. It is estimated that as many as 600 EDL supporters from as far away as Peterborough and beyond are set to show up at the Market Place on Saturday afternoon.

As well as up to 700 police officers they will face a counter demonstration organised by Kirklees Unite Against Fascism and Huddersfield TUC which is due to be held in a nearby car park.

In a letter to Kirklees councillors, Mr Kingsman warns: “The EDL and UAF have a legal right to protest and West Yorkshire Police have a duty to facilitate those protests.

“However, we will not tolerate acts of anti-social behaviour, damage, violence or other criminal behaviour from any individual or group.

“West Yorkshire Police has been in contact with the organisers of both demonstrations to ensure we can facilitate the rights of both groups.”

The Examiner expects EDL members to meet up in Wellington Street at 11am with the police wanting to restrict them to two pubs in the vicinity.

They will then walk through the town for a rally outside Batley Town Hall at 2pm.

Police at the EDL demonstration in Dewsbury in 2011.
Police at the EDL demonstration in Dewsbury in 2011.
 

In a briefing note about why the EDL is coming to Batley this weekend the group complains about Muslim stridency “in asserting a distinctive Muslim presence in the town.”

It then goes on to talk about the involvement of Batley area men in the 2005 London bombings and says: “The latest generation of Batley residents have never felt the rich Yorkshire heritage that should have been their birthright.”

Finally, it refers to Unwelcome attendees at today’s Batley demonstration, saying: “There is a third group who have come to Batley today - Unite Against Fascism, Hope not Hate and the violent, secretive Antifa.

“If there is any violence today we expect it to be initiated by these groups - if they break through police lines.”