Brighton: English Defence League to march near city’s gay bars

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LGBT businesses in Brighton are concerned at the prospect of an English Defence League (EDL) march taking place on their doorstep this Sunday.

The far-right, anti-Islamic group has chosen Brighton for its ‘March for England’ event.

More than 1,000 protesters are expected to descend on the city.

The assembly point for the march, which is due to start around 12.30pm on Sunday 21 April, is opposite several gay bars and adjacent to Brighton Pier.

Some gay venues and non-LGBT businesses on Brighton seafront fear they may have to close in order to avoid potential disruption.

Opponents of the march will gather to the west of the pier.

Both groups will be separated at all times by barriers and police officers.

Previous EDL demonstrations in Brighton have ended in scuffles and arrests.

Sussex Police Superintendent Steve Whitton said: “As always, our priority is public safety. It is vitally important that those attending the event work with us and comply with directions or other restrictions which we will need to give to keep people safe. This will help to ensure officers can focus their attention on the minority of those who may be intent on causing trouble.”

He added: “We have a duty to balance the rights of people to carry out a peaceful protest, whether in support of the march or opposed to it, allowing those to go about their normal business in the city, whilst always prioritising public safety through preventing crime and disorder.”