A ring of steel will be thrown around Birmingham’s International Convention Centre to stop anti-cuts protesters getting near deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and his Liberal Democrat colleagues next month.
The stretch of Broad Street near the ICC and Centenary Square will become a virtual no-go area to protect Nick Clegg and his coalition government colleagues from thousands of angry demonstrators during the Liberal Democrat conference, opening on September 18.
The security move has been criticised by Left-wing groups wanting to protest against Government spending cuts and economic policies. The TUC has already announced plans to stage a massive protest rally, called March For The Alternative, to coincide with the Liberal Democrats’ main conference.
Paul Brandon, national secretary of protest group Right to Work, said: “This is an outrageous decision and a direct attack on the right to protest.
“There now needs to be a massive demonstration in Birmingham on September 18 to re-assert working people’s hard-won freedoms as we face attacks on pensions, savage cuts to public services and an attack on the NHS to pay for a financial crisis we didn’t create.”
Linda Burnip, of Disabled People Against Cuts, said: “These are our elected politicians and they are accountable to us as voters. It is unacceptable that they can be hidden away from us in this way.”
It follows similar security around last years Conservative Party Conference when 7,000 people joined a protest march.
West Midlands Police remain in negotiations with representatives from the TUC to allow a peaceful protest to take place whilst the Liberal Democrat party conference takes place in Birmingham next month.
Assistant chief constable Garry Forsyth, from West Midlands Police, said: “Whilst we recognise and support the democratic right for people to peacefully protest, we have to balance this with ensuring the safety and security of all those attending these events.
“It is essential that Broad Street remains open to pedestrians, however the security measures necessary to ensure safety will mean it is impractical for a large group, such as those taking part in a planned march, to pass through the area in a safe and orderly manner.
“We do not take the decision lightly to oppose the proposed route, and we aim to find an alternative that will suit all parties so that the two events can successfully take place in Birmingham.”