Police aim to avoid trouble and traffic chaos as Newcastle Unites to oppose Pegida

OUT IN FORCE ... extra police will be on duty in Newcastle.
OUT IN FORCE ... extra police will be on duty in Newcastle.

POLICE are hoping for a trouble-free weekend as Newcastle city centre hosts two marches and a football match on the same day.

The city is the venue for the first-ever UK demonstration by anti-Islam group Pegida and a counter-protest by Newcastle Unites on Saturday.

The Pegida event will take place at 11am in the Bigg Market, where protesters will gather for speeches and a demonstration.

Newcastle Unites, a group formed in May 2013 to oppose all forms of discrimination, will meet in Gallowgate at about 10.30am and walk the short distance to Newgate Street, where it will hold a demonstration.

Russell Brand and MP George Galloway are among those expected to address the counter-demo.

Police will be closing several roads, and have warned drivers of delays.

To add to the expected congestion, there are ongoing roadworks around the city centre, and Newcastle United have a Premier League match against Aston Villa that afternoon.

Chief Superintendent Laura Young of Northumbria Police said: “It will be a busy day in Newcastle on Saturday, with a number of events taking place and lots of people coming into the city centre for things like shopping, socialising and the football.

“The city is a busy place on a Saturday anyway, and with all the extra things taking place, we are advising anyone who is thinking of driving into Newcastle to give themselves extra time and be aware of how their journey might be affected by the delays.

“To minimise disruption to the public we will have motor patrols officers out on the roads to ensure traffic flow, and we will do everything we can to keep the roads open and to reduce the impact on the public.

“We have spoken with the local authority and local bus and travel companies about the road closures and we are looking to have all roads re-opened as soon as possible on Saturday.”

The following roads will be closed to allow for the demonstrations to take place:

• The Bigg Market will be closed to traffic from about 10am.

• A small section of Gallowgate will be closed from 10am to 10.45am as Newcastle Unites march begins.

• A section of Newgate Street will be closed from 10.30am.

• There are no plans to close Clayton Street or Grainger Street.

Police may need to temporarily close other roads, depending on events of the day, but will look to re-open them as soon as possible and keep the city road network flowing.

There will be extra officers in and around the city to ensure the events pass peacefully and that any disruption to the public is kept to a minimum.