Protesters last night said they would defy police by gathering at the Clock Tower to confront the English Defence League tomorrow.
Unite Against Fascism told police it was not interested in marching along a route designed to keep it on the other side of the city centre to the EDL at all times.
The UAF leaflet – the EDL says that it is not racist
Instead, it said it would encourage its supporters to stand at the Clock Tower and express their “disgust” when the EDL marchers pass by. City mayor Sir Peter Soulsby last night branded the group’s move as “grossly irresponsible”.
Sir Peter and city police have repeatedly stressed the city centre would be open for business, with some short-lived disruption, on the day. Police – who will have 2,000 officers on the ground tomorrow – warned people could be arrested if they attempt to protest at the Clock Tower.
Discussions between the UAF and police were set to continue today.
The routes set down by police were made known to both groups on Monday.
Sir Peter said: “The people of Leicester do not want disorder on the streets of their city and it would be grossly irresponsible of people not to recognise that.
“The police have made it very clear what will happen to people who go for confrontation.”
Martin Smith, a national organiser for Unite Against Fascism, said: “We have every right to assemble at the Clock Tower and we intend to stay there and express our dissatisfaction with the EDL being in Leicester.
“We won’t cause any violence but we will be there to express our disgust.”
It is unclear how many supporters the UAF will bring to the protest. About 700 people took part in its counter protest when the EDL staged a national demonstration, in Leicester, in October 2010.
Police are planning for the arrival of 1,100 EDL supporters from across the country.
Chief Superintendent Rob Nixon said: “To help ensure everything runs smoothly on Saturday, the police have placed a number of conditions on both protest groups.
“Any person taking part who knowingly fails to comply with the conditions is guilty of an offence for which they may be arrested.”
It was unclear last night what this would mean for the UAF march, however, a group of public sector unions, whose members work for the city council, urged people to stick to the original route and stay away from the Clock Tower.
The City Council Joint Trade Unions urged people to stick to the route laid down by the police for those who wished to oppose the EDL.
They said: “We deplore the views held by the EDL and consider their presence in our multi-ethnic and diverse city an obscenity.”
The route offered to the EDL will begin at St Margaret’s Pastures, next to Abbey Park.
Between 12.30pm and 2pm they will march through St Margaret’s Way, Burleys Way, Abbey Street, Belgrave Gate and Church Gate before returning to St Margaret’s Pastures, where they are expected to hold a rally.
Leicester Unite Against Fascism had been told to accept a route which begins at Leicester City Council’s base in Welford Place and takes in Pocklington’s Walk, Horsefair Street, Halford Street and Charles Street before heading right along Belvoir Street and back to Welford Place, where they were also expected hold a rally, including live music.