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Birmingham politicians and community activists are calling on West Midlands police to ban next month’s planned protest against “militant Islam” in the city – following the example set by their counterparts in Luton.

The last demo organised by the English and Welsh League on August 8 erupted into violence when the far-right group encountered resistance from supporters of Unite Against Fascism, leading to 33 arrests.

Concerned Brummie Waseem Zaffar called a public meeting at the Council House yesterday to discuss an appropriate response to the EDL’s planned return to the city on September 5.

The gathering of around 80 people unanimously called on police to halt the protest on the grounds that it jeopardised public safety.

It was noted that police in Luton have responded to a proposed EDL “event” in September by cancelling all marches in the town for three months.

Chief Inspector Adrian Atherley, of West Midlands Police Diversity and Community Cohesion Unit argued that the Birmingham demonstration couldn’t be treated in the same way.

He said that while marches can be banned, the right to protest is enshrined in law.

Yardley Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming, who was at the meeting, was unimpressed, and reckons the law can be used "creatively" to impose a ban.

He said: “What happened on August 8 was unforgiveable. However, it seems quite clear that the EDL are a bunch of football hooligans coming to incite people to violence. They can’t be allowed to continue to do that.

“Once you get to the stage where people are going at something to deliberately wind other people up, that’s not on – and that’s their objective.”

He was backed by Perry Barr MP Khalid Mahmood who said: “ I agree with the sentiment of the meeting.

“These people came to deliberately incite, and it’s the taxpayers of the West Midlands and Birmingham who are having to pay for it. That money would be better spent on my constituents.”

Others present included Respect Party leader Salma Yaqoob, Dudley councillor Judy Foster, the Vice Chair of the Police Authority; likewise representatives of Unite Against Fascism, musician Apache Indian and Stirrer editor Adrian Goldberg.

We’ve contacted The English Defence League and will publish it when we have it.

The meeting also unanimously backed The Stirrer's Birmingham United campaign.

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