A decision is due later today over the planned English Defence League (EDL) march in Bristol, planned for the same day as the city’s Pride march.
As reported by Bristol24-7 earlier this week, the official spokesman for the EDL Tommy Robinson said the group wanted to change the date of their march to avoid a conflict.
The backtrack came after Kerry McCarthy, MP for Bristol East, had called for their march to be banned.
“We didn’t realise about the Pride event being on the same weekend,” Mr Robinson said. “So we will be changing our date, we don’t want to clash with that.
“There is a liaison meeting with the police tomorrow and we’ll say we don’t want to do our march on the same weekend.”
However, at a meeting with Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset police the following day, the EDL said their spokesman was wrong and the group still wanted to march on July 14.
In a statement on their Facebook page, the EDL said: “Members of the Gay Pride are more than welcome to come and participate in the EDL march if they so wish, and we will also be having a transexual speaker from our own LGBT Division.”
The EDL is due to finalise details with police and council officials today over the timing and route of their march in the city.
A council source told Bristol24-7 the aim was to ensure the two marches were kept as far apart as possible, and that the EDL would be routed through areas that would make it as easy as possible to control.
More than 900 people have now signed an online petition calling for the EDL march to be banned, stating: “The EDL must not be able to bring their message of hate and division to places where diversity is a strength not a weakness.”
Lead petitioner Adrian Probert wrote on Bristol24-7: “The EDL are not welcome in Bristol. They do not represent the values or views of a progressive diverse city which celebrates all of our beliefs, cultures and lifestyles.
“Their message of hate has appeared in many cities across the country and has caused violence, damage and fear in local communities.
“Yes those cities banned the marches and they came anyway but the point is do we welcome them as a city or say publicly no we dont want you here.”