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Police prepare for Weymouth demonstrations

Officers in Weymouth are making preparations after being notified of two separate demonstrations to be held in the town on Saturday 30 April between 1.30 and 2.30pm.

Dorset Police has received notifications from both the English Defence League (EDL) and a group of counter-demonstrators from the local area.

Assembly points have been designated at either end of the Esplanade in Weymouth, with the EDL due to meet at the pier bandstand and counter-demonstrators opposite the Pavilion.

Chief Inspector Nick Maton is in charge of the policing operation. He said: “Our strategy is based simply around ensuring the two groups are indeed separate from each other.

“Dorset Police, like all national forces, is committed to facilitating peoples’ right to protest when conducted peacefully and lawfully.

“The police’s role is to work with all communities and groups involved, to reduce and prevent crime and disorder, and to deal with it robustly where it occurs.”

Dorset Police is also issuing a message to residents, traders and visitors to the town in advance of the demonstrations.

Neighbourhood Chief Inspector Gemma Morris said: “Dorset Police, along with Weymouth & Portland Borough Council and Dorset County Council, is well-prepared for this operation.

“The planned assemblies will be adequately policed and allegations of offences – particularly where there is racial or religious aggravation – will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.

“Along with our partners, we are committed to minimising the risk of harm to people and property as a consequence of these demonstrations.

“In addition, we are committed to minimising the disruption to the public in Weymouth who are not part of the demonstrations.”

The law differentiates between procession demonstrations and assembly demonstrations – with the demonstrations due to take place in Weymouth on Saturday 30 April being assemblies. The police have no specific powers to ban an assembly demonstration.

Members of the public with any concerns about the demonstrations should contact their local Safer Neighbourhood Team by calling 01305 222 222 or visit the Local Policing pages of the Dorset Police website by following this link