Businesses have raised concerns over the decision to allow the English Defence League's protest march at the Barbican over the weekend.
As hundreds of people enjoyed the scene and historic part of the city, many voiced their dismay at the large police presence and the slogan-chanting of the EDL. One shopkeeper – who asked not to be named – said: "They are allowed to march, that's democracy. But why march them along here, where all our tourists are, where our businesses are trying to show the best of Plymouth?"
Professor David Wheeler, who chairs the Waterfront Partnership, witnessed the march as it travelled the length of Southside Street and onto Madeira Road. He expressed his "serious disappointment" that the march had been "routed through the touristic heart of the city."
He said: "The waterfront businesses are multi-cultural in ownership and in their customer base. As the showcase of an international marine city, the Barbican should not be used for demonstrations that many would find divisive and offensive. I was especially concerned that children on the Barbican might have found the tone of the demonstration frightening and that Race Week business could suffer. I will be writing to the police authorities asking for information on how such demonstrations can be prevented in the future."
A police spokesman said: "There was consultation between both march organisers and the police concerning the route of their processions. There were inevitably going to be some parts of the community who did not want either march to go through their respective area. However, we are duty bound to respect the right to peaceful protest and that meant accommodating both marches in the best way possible by lessening impact on the local community wherever we could.
"Initial feedback from many areas of the community concerning the police operation on Saturday has been very positive and we would thank all residents for their co-operation in helping this process."
A 28-year-old is due before magistrates on July 20 charged with possession of an offensive weapon. Four more men arrested on public order offences and another man arrested on suspicion of assault have been released on police bail pending further inquiries.
This is Plymouth