FOOTBALL fans and anti-fascist protestors set to descend on Dudley this weekend will be kept apart by a two-hour gap in demonstrations, police have revealed.

A previously unheard of group calling themselves All Football Fans/Firms March Against Islamisation (AFFFMAI) plan to march through the streets on Saturday June 13, with Unite Against Fascism campaigners also set to stage a counter protest on the same day.

But after lengthy negotiations with both groups, police have confirmed the Love Dudley Hate Racism demonstration will take place in the morning – well before anti-mosque protestors descend on the town in the afternoon.

Chief Superintendant Jim Andronov said: “The expectation is there’s a good two hours between the protests.”

At a meeting at Dudley Council House last night (Wednesday), it was confirmed that the UAF will assemble at 10.30am outside Dudley Council House where there will be a series of speeches on the steps ahead of a march along Priory Road and Castle Street to Dudley Central Mosque which will again be throwing open its doors and offering refreshments to campaigners and members of the public.

While AFFMAI members will muster on Stafford Street car park just after 1pm and they will march along The Inhedge, Parsons Street and Ednam Road to Coronation Gardens where they will hold a gathering which is expected to last until around 3.30pm.

Chief Inspector Phil Dolby said the group had wanted to muster on Dudley’s Flood Street car park and march through the town but after negotiations agreed to meet on Stafford Street.

He said: “We’ve taken a particularly strong view and said enough’s enough; this is the third time in five months - it’s not acceptable for us.”

Jerry Langford, spokesman for the UAF, said around 200 trade unionists and anti-fascist campaigners are expected to attend on the unity rally to express how much they are “sick of Dudley being the weekend outing for Britain’s racists”. While police estimate there could be around 600 football fans turning up.

Insp Dolby said there would be no planned road closures and he’s confident West Midlands Police has assigned “the right number of officers with deal with anything on the day”.

He said officers would not necessarily be visible on the streets but would be “ready to go at a moment’s notice to where they need to be” and he added: “It’s not a normal Saturday but this gives us the best chance of having a successful day”.

Many shops are expected to be open for business as usual although some traders have taken the decision to close.

Claire Hinds, who runs Trinity Property estate agents in Wolverhampton, said despite police reassurances she is having to close for the day. She said: “It’s affecting business. Have we got to start protesting against the protests?”

Meanwhile Dudley Council is laying on free parking on all of its pay and display car parks in the town.

Matt Williams, Dudley Council’s chief officer for the environment, said council services will be operating as normal and he added: “We’re proud of our town, it’s important that we do everything to demand respect from these people visiting us on the day. Hopefully our town will look good and open for businesses.”

Protestors are expected to flock to Dudley on coaches and by train via Dudley Port railway station.

Chief Supt Andronov told the meeting he’s “more than confident we’ve got the best policing operation we can” but anyone with concerns or questions about the operation can call the dedicated protest line on 07824 824468 or call the usual police non-emergency number 101.

People are also invited to keep an eye on the police Twitter account @DudleyPolice