I’m pleased to say that Saturday’s protest by the English Defence League passed without major incident which in no small part was due to the council and police’s meticulous planning.
It’s reassuring to note that the protest passed peacefully and I am both delighted and proud of the restraint and patience shown by the local community in the face of this vile and unacceptable provocation.
And provoke they certainly tried to do with their offensive chanting just one of their attempts to create unrest and friction among our population.
I have absolutely no problem with legitimate democratic protest, but I do have a problem with groups who under the guise of the democratic right to free speech seek to intimidate, threaten and frighten communities.
I know I’m not alone when I say that I cannot thank the police enough for what they did on the day, their meticulous planning, effective and professional actions were a major reason the day went so smoothly.
I would also like to single out the community elders and community leaders for particular praise. They did a fantastic job of keeping things calm and in proportion throughout the day.
The EDL tested our resolve and Hyde showed that it is more than equal to the challenge laid down by this right-wing group who were all about raising ethnic tensions in the town.
I am pleased that the protest passed without problem, and I am even more pleased that the EDL and their like have now left our town. Everyone, including the families of those attacked, which triggered this protest, made it crystal clear that they were not welcome here in the first place.
Hyde is a decent, tolerant and united community and I am certain that it will become even stronger as a result of this experience.