Lancashire Police is preparing for more than 1,000 supporters in the town centre.
At the same time, Blackburn & Darwen United Against Racism has called a counter-protest.
It is supported by Blackburn Trades Council, Blackburn College Student Union, Unite Against Fascism and Youth On A Mission. [Of course trades councils must support far left groups against ‘racists’ and ‘fascists’. Of course all student unions must do the same. How could you hold your head up high, as a hip student, if you didn’t support self-styled ‘anti-fascist’ groups? Whether or not they are really fighting true fascism is another matter. Being politically hip, to a student, is far more important than the facts of the matter – especially if he can knob himself a Leftist chick at the demo. As for trades councils and trade unions, they must feel obliged to fight ostensible fascists – that’s what it says they have always done in the books on 20th century history.]
Final negotiations were taking place yesterday between police and council chiefs over a suitable location. [Blackburn’s a ‘suitable location’ for a Blackburn demo.]
The key issue is finding somewhere for a large-scale demonstration to take place safely.
Similar events in Bolton, Preston and Rochdale have taken place in the past.
A police spokesman said: “We are aware that the English Defence League may wish to hold an event in Blackburn on Saturday, April 2.
“The right to peacefully protest is a fundamental democratic right and we have a duty to facilitate that. [Though the UAF/SWP, and even many Labour MPs, amongst others, seem to disagree with the view that protesting is a right, as the Labour Council Leader at Bradford, Ian Greenwood, did just a week or so ago.]
“At present nothing has been formally agreed or approved and we will work to ensure that these events pass off peacefully and with as little disruption as possible, if they go ahead.
“We will, of course, be working very closely with Blackburn with Darwen Council and other partner agencies throughout.” [Yes; that’s fine. But Councils have been even more against EDL demos than the police. Perhaps I should say councils with Labour majorities; though some Tories have jumped on the EDL-bashing bandwagon. After all, no one wants to be called a defender of fascists and racists. No Platform my arse!]
According to the main EDL website and its Facebook page, which has 81,000 members, the Blackburn protest will run from 1pm until 4.30pm on Saturday, April 2.
Former Darwen councillor Michael Johnson, 48, who has spoken at previous EDL demos, said:
In recent months, the EDL has held several protests outside the KFC in Blackburn, which has been trialling a halal menu.