Anti Muslim protestors and their anti fascist counterparts planning to gather in Birmingam on Saturday will be greeted by draconian dispersal orders, warning them that the police can move on any gathering of two people or more if they believe they have good cause.
There has been no advance publicity about the decision to invoke the powers, which are presumably based on anti-terror legislation, but warning notices have already started appearing on lamposts around the city centre. The powers will also remain "live" for several weeks after the event.
The threat to the civil liberties of ordinary peace-loving Brummies is being compromised, it seems, to allow a group of far-right rabble rousers to have a march on the busiest shopping day of the week - a privilege recently denied to pro-Palestinian marchers protesting against Israel's invasion of Gaza.
Free speech is of course a precious right - but the police also have the job of upholding the law which, last time we looked, forbids incitement to racial hatred.
West Midlands Police were unavailable for comment last night.