Visitors to Bournemouth this weekend will notice an increase police presence as the English Defence League (EDL) will stage a march in the Dorset town.
A counter-protest march organised by Unite the Union will also take place – but Dorset Police are confident people will be able to go about their business without disorder.
Superintendent Nicky Searle, Gold Commander for Operation Fig said: “He police and other public authorities have a clear legal obligation to facilitate peaceful protest; whatever the cause and even if it creates some disruption to other people.
“We will balance this right to peaceful protest with the rights of others to go about their normal business. This means we will monitor both marches to help keep everyone safe as they move through the town, provide information to help minimise disruption and respond quickly if any crimes or significant disorder occurs.
“Both groups have contacted us, which has allowed us to better understand their intentions and given us a realistic picture, allowing us to police the protests as proportionately as possible.”
The EDL plan to meet at The Square and march to West Overcliff Path between the BIC and the clifftop – while the counter-protest will meet at Horseshoe Common and finish at Bath Road South car park.
A spokesperson for Unison South West said: “Bournemouth is a brilliant, vibrant and cosmopolitan place where many people of different cultures, backgrounds, abilities and faiths come together to work, live and study.
“Bournemouth welcomes millions of visitors to come to our world class tourist resort form the around the world. Because of this, it is depressing to discover that the far right English Defence League, which is a violent and racist organisation, is to march in Bournemouth on Saturday 23rd August – a national bank holiday weekend.”
Disruption is expected between 12pm and 2pm and police are estimating hundreds of people will take part in both marches.
“On the day people will see an increased police presence in the town” added Superintendent Searle.
“However, I would reassure local residents, businesses and visitors that our intention and expectation is that while people will probably notice the protests taking place for a few hours, they will still be able to enjoy the town as normal with minimal disruption for the vast majority of the day.”