There will be a heightened police presence in York tomorrow as the leader of a far-right party holds a rally in the city centre.
Anne Marie Waters, the leader of the For Britain party, is due to speak at a rally in St Helen’s Square at 12.30pm tomorrow (Friday, 1 July).
And York Stand Up To Racism is organising a counter demo, entitled: ‘No to the far right- solidarity with refugees!’
The police expect the demonstration to last a couple of hours.
Chief Inspector for York, Fiona Willey, said: “Saturday afternoons in the city centre are usually busy and I would encourage members of the public to visit the city as normal during this demonstration.
“We’re well-rehearsed at dealing with events of this nature. People visiting York on Saturday should expect to see a heightened police presence and they should feel reassured by this.
“Everyone has the right to voice their opinion. Peaceful protest is key part of UK democracy and we will manage the protest in line with our legal responsibilities.
“I would ask that both residents and demonstrators respect these rights and each other’s opinions, so that the event can take place in a peaceful manner without any incident.”
Anne Marie Waters left UKIP to form For Britain in 2017. She has widely been condemned for her anti-Muslim views. She once described Islam as ‘evil’ in a tweet.
Cllr Denise Craghill, executive member for housing and safer communities at City of York Council, said: “We recognise that everyone has a right to protest where that protest respects the rights of others.
“However, as a Human Rights City, an Anti-Racist City and a City of Sanctuary we cannot endorse extreme views focussed on hatred and disrespect for others.”
On Facebook, York Stand Up To Racism said: “Join us to show that racists are not welcome in our city. We will arrive in St Helen’s Square for 12:30 to show solidarity with refugees and migrants from anywhere in the world. We must challenge the disgusting stereotypes ‘For Britain’ and associated groups are spreading about Muslim and Asian men. We are the majority and we stand with refugees.”