THE chief of Wiltshire Police says the force is prepared to deal with a protest march planned by the far right English Defence League next month.

Chief Constable Brian Moore says he had to respect the right of people to protest peacefully and hoped the event would not give rise to violence.

The English Defence League, an anti-Muslim group formed in 2009, says on its website that it is planning a day of protests in Swindon, Preston and the West Midlands on November 20.

It is feared the EDL might be planning to hold the march in Manchester Road, one of the most multi-cultural areas of town and very close to the site of a proposed new mosque.

Chief Con Moore said: “Wiltshire Police are aware of the potential for a march and we are preparing to deal with that if it arises.

“We are keen to experience good co-operation from the organisers of the event and good co-operation from the local communities so we can properly balance people’s legitimate right to protest and to protest about protests.

“We have got a plan and we will deal with whatever arises.

“I would appeal to everyone to be calm and measured and respect everyone’s rights.

“Events like this do make communities nervous and part of our job is to make sure they have nothing to worry about.

“But in the end I hope they (the EDL) will go somewhere else.”

Earlier this month there were violent clashes between the EDL, Unite Against Fascism and the police in Leicester, leading to 10 people being charged with public order and other offences.

The EDL’s planned protest march in the city had earlier been banned by Home Secretary Theresa May and the EDL was only permitted to hold static demonstrations.

Leicestershire police mounted its biggest operation in 25 years to try to keep the peace between the two opposed groups.

More than 2,000 officers from 13 forces were involved in policing 1,000 EDL supporters and 700 from UAF. A spokesman for Swindon Council said they were aware of the planned march and were in talks with Wiltshire Police.

South West Trades Union Council regional secretary Nigel Costley said the TUC was joining with community and campaign groups to call for a ban of the EDL if rumours of the protest march in the town proved to be true.

He said: “The EDL is a toxic mix of right-wing racists and football hooligans.

“They pick areas with Asian communities to stir violent reactions. Plans for a new mosque on Manchester Road in Swindon will be exploited by the EDL to push their anti-Islamic views.”