Police prepared for protests

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Brought to you by the News Guardian.

Hundreds of people are expected to take part in a demonstration against the closure of an immigration centre.

The English Defence League has said it will hold a protest in North Shields on Saturday, August 1, following news last month that the UK Visas and Immigration office in Norfolk Street could close.

However, Unite Against Fascism has announced plans for a counter demonstration, meeting outside North Tyneside Magistrates Court in Tynemouth Road from 1pm.

A statement from Unite Against Fascism said: “The message of the demonstration will be to show unity against racism which tries to divide our community through scapegoating.”

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “Members of EDL have contacted police to inform us they plan to hold a peaceful protest in North Shields on August 1.

“We have also been informed there are plans for a counter demonstration to take place.

“We recognise members of the community, local businesses and the general public may be concerned about the potential impact these events will have and plans are in place to keep disruption to a minimum.

“The right to peaceful protest is a fundamental democratic right laid down by the European Convention and we respect this right.

“The force acts in a neutral standpoint and does not support or endorse any groups or individuals.

“Our priority is the safety of everyone – those attending any events, those policing them, those protesting and the general public.”