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Mosque protestors urged to stay away from Sunderland neighbourhood

Members of the Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition, march from Murray Library on Chester Road to the site of the proposed mosque on Saint Marks Road, shortly after groups from the NE Infidels, BNP, Northern Patriotic Front and EDL arrive to demonstate against Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition, Police officers keep the two groups apart.

Members of the Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition, march from Murray Library on Chester Road to the site of the proposed mosque on Saint Marks Road, shortly after groups from the NE Infidels, BNP, Northern Patriotic Front and EDL arrive to demonstate against Sunderland Anti-Fascist Coalition, Police officers keep the two groups apart.

PROTESTERS have been urged to leave a community in peace.

Weeks of demonstrations have already taken place in Millfield, as far right groups and anti-fascists clashed after plans for a mosque were approved by Sunderland City Council.

Last month, police arrested 13 people when The English Defence League and left-wing groups confronted each other outside the site in St Mark’s Road, with fireworks and bottles thrown.

Now another organisation, calling itself The Northern Patriotic Front, is planning a rally in Sunderland on November 17.

But community leaders have urged them to stay away.

“It’s upsetting for the residents,” said Millfield ward Councillor Bob Price.

“Based on the last one it could easily get out of control, and it takes up a lot of police resources.

“I would prefer it if they didn’t come here, and just left the community sort it out themselves.”

Residents have spoken out against the protests, with one man claiming it has forced him to move out of Sunderland.

Student Usman Chaudhry left the area after his Nissan Micra was torched outside his then home in Pensher Street.

Now the 28-year-old is living in Liverpool, and spending £88 a week travelling back to Sunderland to complete his MA in Business.

“They have definitely made it worse than it was before the demonstrations,” he said. “It is more aggressive.

“I believe in peace. If they want to protest, they can do it, but it is not the right way to protest.”

Northumbria Police has said it does not have the power to ban the demonstrations.

However, Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth, Sunderland Area Commander, said only peaceful protests would be tolerated.

“Where appropriate we will be imposing very strict conditions on those taking part and will take firm action against those who overstep the mark.”

The planning application to build the mosque, on the council transport depot site, was approved in July.

It attracted hundreds of complaints on the council’s website, many about fears of more noise and traffic.

But while many were from people in Millfield, there were objections from residents in Seaburn, Southwick and South Hylton.

Twitter: @janethejourno

 

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