One thousand police officers will be on duty in Birmingham city centre on Saturday as part of a huge operation to stop major disorder breaking out at a rally by the English Defence League.

Community leaders appealed for calm, with tensions high following two bomb attacks on Midland mosques, while police officers have been drafted in from around the country.

The EDL supporters are expected in Centenary Square for a static demonstration against Islamic extremism on Saturday, a week after the Kanz-ul-Iman Muslim Welfare Association Central Jamia Mosque in Tipton was attacked in a nail bomb blast.

Three weeks ago a pipe bomb was discovered at the Aisha Mosque in Walsall.

Campaigners from the Birmingham Unite Against Fascism project, will hold their own rally in nearby Chamberlain Square.

West Midland Police’s Assistant Chief Constable Sharon Rowe, who is in overall command of the major policing operation, said: “We do appreciate that our communities are feeling vulnerable, especially in light of what happened at the weekend at Tipton mosque.

“We are very mindful of that and we are working with communities to make sure they feel safe.

English Defence League supporters in Birmingham in September 2009
English Defence League supporters in Birmingham in September 2009
 

“We have plenty of officers to deal with any trouble that takes place and we can deal with anything that happens on our streets.

“Anyone who comes to our city with the aim of committing violence will be dealt with swiftly and robustly by our officers.”

Officers from police forces across the country including Staffordshire, West Mercia and Warwickshire, have been drafted in to help West Midlands Police control the demonstration.

The force has also boosted police presence at mosques across the region since the attack in Tipton last Friday, which came at a time when hundreds would normally have been inside the mosque for prayers.

ACC Rowe said estimates of numbers of EDL supporters attending was “changing almost by the hour” and they could not give a firm figure for how many were expected.

EDL supporters gesture to police during a rally in Birmingham in 2009
EDL supporters gesture to police during a rally in Birmingham in 2009
 

A spokesman for the force said the cost of policing the demonstration would not be known until after the event, as extra resources could be called in if trouble flares.

Last month it emerged it had cost the cash-strapped force £260,000 to police three demonstrations in the region.

Councillor John Cotton, cabinet member for social cohesion and equalities, said: “We have a Birmingham resilience team which works to manage incidents with police and we have very firm, strong plans in place.

“People should go about their normal business and not allow the protest to undermine Birmingham’s reputation as a city that champions tolerance, peace and understanding across all our neighbourhoods and communities.”

• Flashback to 2009:  EDL vows to never hold another rally in Birmingham