Friday, 8 October 2010

Far-right group could cost Leicester businesses thousands of pounds in lost revenue

The effect an EDL march in Birmingham had on businesses

By Sunil Patel

A number of businesses in Leicester city centre face taking a deep financial hit to trading due to a planned demonstration by the English Defence League (EDL) this weekend.

A static protest is due to be held by the right-wing group and a counter rally has been organised by the Unite against Fascism (UAF) group, on Humberstone Gate East, on Saturday, October 9. 

Police have advised shops and services in the area to remain closed throughout the duration of the event to avoid any potential for property damage.

Deepak Tanna does not intend on opening his newsagent, Centre News, Humberstone Gate on his busiest trading day of the week.

Mr Tanna expects to be out of pocket by an eye-watering £1000 due to the staging of rival protests outside his shop, he said, “I’ve cancelled all the newspapers and lottery for the day.
“I will still pay all of my staff, it’s not their fault they can’t come into work.” 

Mr Tanna feels the Leicester City Council could have done more by better locating the protest so it did not disrupt city centre businesses.

Mr Tanna does not know why the EDL choose to come to Leicester as he regards it as a model for racial cohesion.

He said: “In all my time in the city I have never had any problems with anyone whether they are Sikhs Hindus, Muslims or Christians. 

The march in Dudley in July forced many shops to take drastic measures to protect themselves
“I just think they are just coming here to stir things up.”

On the same road, another premises Subway will not open for part of the day. 

As a consequence, the business may lose out on massive £1500 through loss of trade.
Iranja Vithanage who works for the fast-food chain said: “If there is no trouble we may open at 6 pm but not if there is something still going on.”

The local Sainsbury’s supermarket will be open, with customers being able to enter the store via the Lee Circle entrance.  

A protest by EDL held in Dudley, Birmingham, in July turned the usually bustling shopping centre into a ghost town, with the market shut down and businesses losing thousands of pounds in revenue. 

Many shops in Dudley were boarded up because of the EDL march

On Monday, the Home Secretary, Teresa May authorised a ban on marches taking place in Leicester city centre.

The UAF have said that they will observe the new legislation but it is not clear whether the EDL will do the same. 

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