A far-right group in Rotherham has announced a rally, forcing cancellation of an LGBT event set to be held in the town hall, in an alleged double booking by the South Yorkshire police.
The LGBT History Month event was set to be held on 25 February, and was organised by Rotherham’s Rainbow Project group.
However, the far-right English Defence League (EDL) announced a rally on the same day, resulting in the Rainbow Project being unable to use the venue.
Rotherham MP Sarah Champion was highly critical of the decision; she took to twitter to voice her frustration.
— Sarah Champion MP (@SarahChampionMP) February 12, 2017
South Yorkshire police corroborated the claims, stating: “A protest is expected to take place on Saturday 25th February 2016 from 2pm until 4pm [proceeding to] the Town Hall where speeches will take place.”
Responding to South Yorkshire Police’s decision, Emma Hoddinott tweeted:
— Emma Hoddinott (@Emma_Hoddinott) February 14, 2017
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police issued a statement, stating: “We recognise the cumulative impact the repeated protests have on the communities of Rotherham and are resolute in our determination to keep communities safe from harm.
“Whilst we are obliged to facilitate peaceful protests, we are clear in our determination to work with partners to prevent crime and disorder and minimise disruption to the community.”
The Rainbow Project confirmed they would arrange a new date: “We would like to confirm our Relaunch to mark LGBT History Month 2017 in Rotherham on [February 25] has been cancelled. New date to be announced shortly.”
Rotherham has a turbulent history with far-right protests. The town has gained an unfortunate reputation, after an infamous child sexual exploitation scandal resulted in EDL marches in 2013.
Words Liam Taft