EXTRA police will be on duty in Rotherham next weekend when the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism both stage rallies in the town.
Far right group EDL has organised its demonstration for Saturday, October 13 after confidential police and council documents were leaked detailing the problem of gangs of Asian men sexually exploiting children in the town.
Anti-racism group Unite Against Fascism has announced its intention to stage a rally in All Saints Square, Rotherham, on the same day.
Pat Keenan, president of Rotherham Trades Council, said: “The overwhelming majority of people reject the EDL’s attempt to use racism to divide our society.
“The EDL’s attempts to spread racist myths about sexual exploitation must be exposed and challenged.
“They seek to blame one community for society’s problems. The EDL does nothing to protect the victims of sexual violence. Sexual predators and paedophiles exist in all communities, as do their victims.
“Everyone has a responsibility and a duty to challenge such crimes and support the victims.
“The people of multi-cultural Rotherham have repeatedly shown they will not allow fascists.
“We need to speak with one voice – no to racism, no to fascism and no to the EDL.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “South Yorkshire Police is aware of the planned EDL march in Rotherham on Saturday and is in discussion with the organisers. Any person or organisation looking to hold a procession must give the local police at least six days’ written notice of the proposed event, including the organiser’s name and contact details.
“South Yorkshire Police respect people’s right to protest peacefully but any individuals or groups intent on causing violence or disorder will be dealt with appropriately.
“In the event the demonstration does take place, officers will be available across Rotherham to minimise the impact of demonstrations on local communities and businesses.”