A CONTROVERSIAL right-wing march into the heart of South Shields’ Muslim community has been re-routed.
North East Infidels (NEI) and English Defence League (EDL) are holding the march and demonstration in town next Saturday.
There is also a planned counter-protest by anti-fascist groups South Tyneside Unites and Newcastle Unites.
Northumbria Police has confirmed the march will be allowed to go ahead – but those involved will be kept away from Ocean Road.
Following discussions between police and organisers, a route and event plan has been confirmed.
The NEI and EDL will march from Mile End Road along Fowler Street and onto Beach Road leading to Sea Road, with a short demonstration at Pier Parade.
Protesters will then be escorted by police back along the route, and will disperse at Mile End Road.
Roads will be closed on a rolling basis, as the procession marches.
South Tyneside Unites and Newcastle Unites will also hold a static protest at Pier Parade.
Shops and pubs are all set to open as usual, although there may be some minor disruption around the rolling road closures.
Chief Superintendent Ian Dawes, of South Shields police, said: “Following negotiations with the protest organisers, it has been agreed that Ocean Road will be unaffected by the day’s events, and will not be part of the march procession or protest sites.
“We are also constantly monitoring the situation, and will continue to adapt accordingly. There will be extra police patrols out across the area to reassure communities and explain what the police are doing.
“The police act in a neutral capacity, and have no power to ban an assembly or protest which is arranged for a peaceful purpose, but we can agree on conditions.
“If the protest is not peaceful, we will take action against anyone breaking the law.
“We also recognise the impact such events have on local communities, and appreciate some people may be concerned.
“I want to reassure them that we are absolutely determined to maintain public safety across the area that day.
“Public safety is our absolute priority, and our aim at all times is to facilitate these events and ensure they pass off peacefully with the minimum of disruption.
“There is a significant investment being made in South Shields, and there is a lot of positive support from the community here.
“We have been working with our partners and local communities to ensure all concerns are listened to and action taken to mitigate any issues.”