A controversial right-wing campaign group is staging a demonstration in Leeds this weekend.
The English Defence League (EDL) is due to protest in City Square from 1pm on Saturday against what it claims is the spread of "radical Islam" in the UK. Similar demos by the EDL in Birmingham and Manchester sparked clashes with anti-fascist activists.
A group called Leeds Unite Against Fascism is urging people to attend a rally outside the city art gallery at noon on the same day as the EDL's protest.
Today West Yorkshire Police's Chief Supt Mark Milsom said the force would have "several hundred" officers on duty to try to prevent any repeat of the problems in Birmingham and Manchester. All local police leave had been cancelled for Saturday, Chief Supt Milsom told the Yorkshire Evening Post, with some officers due to be drafted in from outside the county.
It is thought the two protests could be attended by more than 2,000 people.
Chief Supt Milsom said: "It is likely there will be some disorder – that is the reason we are providing such a large operation. We are looking to ensure that (Saturday] is as peaceful as possible. If people are not peaceful and do break the law, we will be looking to deal with that positively."
The police and city council say members of the public should have no concerns about visiting the shopping areas in the centre of Leeds on Saturday afternoon. They are being warned, however, to expect some "disruption" in the areas earmarked for the demos.
Members of Leeds's Muslim community are also being urged to steer clear of potential confrontations with protesters.
Chief Supt Milsom said: "The EDL focuses on Islamic issues and local Muslims could feel threatened by this, particularly young Muslims who could get drawn into the demonstrations. We feel this would actually play into the hands of both groups of protesters on the day and we have been meeting with local community groups to discourage them from attending the demonstrations and getting drawn into them."
The EDL says it is a "non-violent, non-racist" organisation opposing Islamic extremism. Its demo in Birmingham on September 5 ended with rival gangs hurling missiles at each other near the city's main shopping areas. Nearly 100 people were arrested.
More than 40 people were arrested during protests by the EDL and Unite Against Fascism in the middle of Manchester on October 10.
Yorkshire Evening Post