The Regal on St Andrew’s Street, known to most Cambridge students as “Spoons”, will close on Saturday 9th July to prevent it being used as a meeting place for the English Defence League (EDL).
While the Wetherspoons chain has been used in other parts of the country for EDL meetings, the group had no such luck when attempting to book a large number of breakfasts at The Regal on the 9th in advance of their march against the moving of the Cambridge mosque from its current site on Mawson Road to a new site on Mill Road, just a few hundred yards away.
Sarah Hemingway, The Regal’s manager, said: “They tried to book the pub and were asking for breakfasts for anything from 500 to 1,000 people. We do not want anything to do with this group and refused. We will be closing that day until about 4pm or whenever the police give us the all clear.”
She added they had been talking to police and would keep in contact with them throughout the day.
“The EDL have been associated with our pubs in other parts of the country but we do not want to be associated with this group.”
The EDL are also set to be opposed by a counter-march organised by Unite Against Facism and the Trades Union Council which has already garnered significant support from left-wing groups and community organisations. Although the routes of both marches are not entirely clear, Cambridge police will be keeping a close eye on the situation.
A police statement said: “While those taking part in the protest will be allowed to express opinion and protest peacefully, violence, incitement to hatred or other criminal activity from anyone, will not be tolerated.”
The UAF/TUC march is scheduled to begin at the Guildhall at 11am while the EDL demonstration itself is believed to be starting from Market Square and hour later and then proceeding to Mill Road.
Image: Naomi O’Leary