Britain First march through Rotherham has route changed on police orders

Britain First march through Rotherham last October.
Britain First march through Rotherham last October.

A planned march through Rotherham by hundreds of Britain First supporters next month has had its route changed on police orders to avoid the town’s main shopping areas.

The far-right group, who describe themselves as a ‘patriotic political party and street defence organisation’, has arranged a demonstration on Saturday, September 5, through the town in relation to the child grooming scandal.

More than 1,200 people have indicated they plan to attend on the organisation’s Facebook page.

Organisers had hoped to pass through the centre of the town but have now agreed to a new route.

Police have imposed the changes in a bid to minimise disruption to local residents and businesses.

Last October, two people were arrested during a Britain First protest in Rotherham town centre, but police said at the time that march had passed without ‘major disruption or disorder’ after 200 officers were put on duty.

A spokesman for Britain First said the group has had ‘prohibition orders’ imposed on their original route through the town centre for their latest demonstration.

He said: “The route they have laid down takes us nowhere near the busy town centre shopping area, despite letting us go through there on two occasions last year.

“Britain First protests have always been peaceful and disciplined. We have no choice but to comply with the orders from the police.”

The group will now march from Rotherham railway station, past the town’s Magistrates Court and up to Rotherham Town Hall.

Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, Commander for Rotherham, said: “We are aware of an organisation which has submitted formal notification of their plans to protest in Rotherham on September 5.

“We are in continuing dialogue with the organisers to ensure we have a full outline of their intentions for the day.

“Let me reassure local residents and businesses that we will do all we can to minimise the impact on them while fulfilling our duty to facilitate peaceful protest.

“The force’s primary concern will always be to ensure the safety of people in Rotherham.”

It follows around £2m being spent on policing protests and demonstrations in Rotherham in the past two years - many of which have been organised in direct response to the grooming scandal.