Diversity event planned for same day as EDL demonstration

A far right protest on Preston's Flag Market in 2014
A far right protest on Preston's Flag Market in 2014
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PLANS have been announced for a diversity celebration event, as a counterpoint to the English Defence League’s plans for a demonstration in Preston.

Far right group the EDL previously revealed on Facebook that it was planning a demo in the city on February 20, after describing Preston as ‘another creeping Sharia city’.

In response, Preston and South Ribble Trades Council and United Against Fascism are now planning to hold a One Preston, One Community event on the same day, at Preston Flag Market.

Chris Lomax, president of Preston and South Ribble Trades Council, said: “The community has really rallied round to oppose the EDL coming to Preston.

“We will oppose the message of the fascist, by bringing the city together in this event.”

One Preston, One Community is holding a public meeting on Sunday at 7pm at Catherine Beckett Hall, Deepdale Road, Preston.

Preston’s MP Mark Hendrick has been invited and organisers say people of all faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds will be welcome to come along to discuss and prepare for the event.

Canon Andrew Pratt, the Blackburn Diocese Bishop’s advisor and co-ordinator for inter-faith work, said: “We love Preston. It is a great place to live, work and visit. People in Preston work really hard to understand and get on with each other.

“We don’t welcome people who want to threaten and abuse others because of their faith.”

An EDL spokesman said: “It is a pity that that this event (on February 20) has been timed to coincide with our own. That is unduly provocative and may lead to an unsavoury and unnecessary confrontation.

“We have seen a few opposing comments from the usual suspects but have also received plenty of supportive responses.”

A Lancashire police spokesman said they were in ongoing discussions with both parties about their plans.