Police call for peace as English Defence League set to descend on Doncaster for demo

The EDL protest in Hexthorpe in 2014.
The EDL protest in Hexthorpe in 2014.

Police have called for peaceful demonstrations as members of the English Defence League and anti-fascist protesters prepare to clash in Doncaster tomorrow.

Members of the far-right group are set to gather in Hexthorpe on Saturday where there have been a number of community tensions in recent years over an influx of Roma migrants.

Counter protests by a number of anti-fascist and anti-racism groups are also planned.

But South Yorkshire Police has called for calm between the two groups as they prepare to demonstrate around noon.

A spokesman said: "Dedicated team will be working to ensure that the rights of the demonstrators to peacefully assemble and the rights of the community and residents are balanced.

"We shall ensure that the events are peaceful and conducted within the law.

"We have engaged with Doncaster Council at every stage of the planning and continue to work closely together to minimise disruption to the local community."

The event is described as an English Defence League Regional and a post on Facebook said the march was "to make a stand, to show the residents of Hexthorpe have had enough of seeing the place they call home become a no go zone and of living in fear in their homes."

Doncaster Antifascists, Rotherham Unite Against Fascism and Doncaster Stand Up To Racism are all planning counter demonstrations and a spokesman said: "The racist knuckle draggers of the EDL are attempting to return to Hexthorpe this weekend, clearly forgetting they were chased out by the locals last time they tried it!

"They weren't welcome then and they aren't now. Join us to stop the last dregs of this fascist group terrorising our multicultural town."

The anti-EDL groups will meet at Doncaster railway station at 11am.

During the organisation's last march in Doncaster in 2014, 350 police were on duty to keep the opposing factions apart.