LGBT History Month event booted out of venue for far-right EDL rally
An LGBT history month event in Yorkshire has been booted out of its venue after a far-right group announced a rally outside.
The LGBT History Month event had been set to be held in Rotherham town hall on February 25, with contributors from the local LGBT community.
However, organisers from Rotherham’s Rainbow Project group have now been told that they will be unable to use the venue, after the far-right English Defence League announced a rally outside Rotherham town hall on the same day.
Rotherham has been a focal point for far-right protests following a notorious child sexual exploitation scandal.
The Rainbow Project confirmed: “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 MP Sarah Champion attacked the decision, tweeting: “Furious! Our inaugural LGBT event has been cancelled as [South Yorkshire Police] didn’t realise townhall booked when they agreed EDL rally at same place!”
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police confirmed: “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.
“We have engaged with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council at every stage of the planning including during discussions about protest routes.
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“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.
“To this end, strict conditions have been imposed on timings, numbers and locations.”
Last year far-right groups including the EDL were accused of exploiting the Orlando massacre to disguise their marches as LGBT events.
Affiliates of extremist groups including the EDL and Pegida UK set up fake local ‘LGBT’ groups in several towns in order to disguise their marches and draw people in.
Anti-extremism watchdog Tell MAMA warned that LGBT issues “are being appropriated as potential fronts to draw in people who may have some deeply questionable views”.