Police ask public not to share West Bromwich protest rumours online

Police have asked people not to share online and on social media unsubstantiated rumours that a protest is due to take place in West Bromwich on Saturday afternoon.

It comes after officers asked residents to be "mindful" of online fake news which has circulated around disorder outside a Hindu temple in Smethwick this week.

On Tuesday, 150 people gathered outside the Durga Bhawan Temple where fireworks and missiles were thrown at police officers. Since then, the force has seen several "unsubstantiated claims" circulating online which have led to racial abuse.

A statement from West Midlands Police on Saturday said: ""We’re aware of information being shared widely online and on social media regarding a potential protest in West Bromwich later today.

"We’ve received a number of calls about this too – thank you for taking the time to contact us.

"We'd ask people to be mindful of misinformation and rumour on social media. This can have a serious impact on communities. Please only share information you know to be true.

"Currently we have no information that a protest will take place this afternoon. Therefore we are asking people not to share this and not to attend."

They added: "We are monitoring the situation and have a policing plan in place should we need to respond. We will have appropriate policing resources in the area.

"We always seek to facilitate peaceful protest, upholding the right to protest, while balancing it with the rights of others to keep the public safe, prevent crime and disorder.

"However, we won't accept disorder and will seek to act against anyone who attends with the intention to cause trouble, and put the safety of others at risk."

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