In a strongly worded statement, the police say they believe the risk to public order is enough to warrant a ban on the racist march. This will be the first time any police force has applied for a ban since the EDL tried to march in Luton in summer 2009.
Bradford City Council will now formally request a ban from the Home Secretary and a decision will be announced early next week. However, Home Office officials told HOPE not hate last week that it was highly unlikely the Home Secretary would ignore a request if one were made by the police and council and the stringent criteria for a ban were met.
While there is still a possibility that the EDL might hold a static protest in Bradford, a ban on a demonstration is a major success. The EDL had hoped to march down Manchester Road, a predominantly Muslim area of the city. It is also likely that as news of the ban spreads support for an EDL static protest will dampen.
The decision by West Yorkshire Police is a victory for the HOPE not hate campaign and the thousands of people who signed its Bradford Together petition. “Some people said that a petition was fruitless but we have proved that, when mobilised, ordinary people can exert pressure on the authorities,” said HOPE not hate co-ordinator Nick Lowles.
“While the EDL threat hasn’t completely gone away our campaign has contributed to the racists being kept away from Muslim communities in Bradford. This is a victory for the people of city and especially the 10,700 who signed our petition.”
The HOPE not hate campaign and its Bradford Together initiative will not stop here. If the EDL reapplies for a static protest then we will hold a peace vigil in Bradford City Centre on Friday 27 August. But even if the EDL stays away altogether we shall seek to build on this fantastic campaign to make Bradford Together a lasting initiative.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported us,” added Paul Meszaros, who ran the campaign in Bradford. “Over 10,000 local people signed our petition. That’s over 10,000 successful conversations we have had with ordinary local people.
“We still might face a static EDL protest but this is a significant victory and one we should all be proud of.”