The English Defence League (EDL) is planning to stage a demonstration in Birmingham on Saturday 8th April. There will also counter demonstration at the same time.

West Midlands Police will be working alongside Birmingham City Council, demonstration leaders and local businesses to ensure demonstrators can air their views safely and securely.

The police and council have no power to ban groups from exercising their democratic right to express their opinions but they’ve been planning for weeks to minimise disruption to those who live, work or plan to visit the city on the day.

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, said: “Every citizen has the right to peacefully protest – it is the sign of a healthy democracy.

The EDL and some of the counter protestors do not know what’s going on in our city and Brummies don’t need to be told by them how to live their lives.

This protest is an extra demand and cost to our police force, with officers pulled away from their duties to police this unnecessary and unhelpful gathering.

Events such as these risk causing more problems for West Midlands Police and the people of Birmingham.

I fail to see what the event and counter protest is going to bring to our city other than division at a time when we are united.”

Birmingham City Council has issued a cross-party statement: “The English Defence League is not welcome in Birmingham. They will never be welcome in Birmingham.

We would urge people to go about their normal everyday business on Saturday.

There is no place in our city for messages of hate. There is no place for intolerance and there is no place for violence or extremism of any kind.

In this city we are all British Brummies and we celebrate our shared Birmingham values.

Together we are committed to a progressive, safe and inclusive city, free from discrimination and all forms of extremism.

We are one Birmingham, one big community, and we will remain united against those that seek to divide us.”