East London protest march ban extended to City
The 30-day ban on protest marches in Tower Hamlets and its neighbouring boroughs has been extended to the City of London. Police chiefs in the financial district applied for permission to ban marches in the area following the Metropolitan Police’s successful bid to prohibit marches in five London boroughs.
“This is not a decision we take lightly,” said Assistant Commissioner Frank Armstrong, “but is, we believe, an appropriate response to prevent a displaced march or demonstration resulting in serious public disorder within the City of London.”
The English Defence League, an anti-Islam organisation, originally intended to march through Tower Hamlets at the beginning of this month. Following the ban on marching, they intend holding a static demonstration instead – which is not banned under the terms of the police order.
United Against Fascism, which tends to confront EDL marches in a physical manner, complained that its members’ human right to march against the EDL was being violated by the ban on marching in Tower Hamlets.
“The Home Secretary has today given her consent to a ban on all marches in the City of London for a 30-day period,” said a Home Office spokesman. “This supplements the Banning Order in place for Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs. The decision has been taken following consideration of the legal tests in the Public Order Act.”
Whilst senior police officers may apply for a ban on marches in a specific area, only the Home Secretary may give permission for a ban to be enforced. Ignoring the ban, or encouraging others to do so, is an imprisonable offence.