Answers are demanded as trade in the Jewellery Quarter is brought to a halt due to a protest of over 1000 people
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A rally in support of striking Indian farmers brought the Jewellery Quarter to a standstill on Saturday, halting trade for many independent retailers just weeks before Christmas.
The Jewellery Quarter Business Improvement District (JQBID) is demanding answers from Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police, as to why this protest was allowed to happen so close to Christmas and why there was no substantial notice given to traders.
With just 2 weeks before Christmas, the chosen day for the rally was expected to have been one of the most important shopping days of the year for the Jewellery Quarter’s many independent businesses. Yet as a direct result of the rally, retailers had appointments cancelled and shoppers stayed away.
Luke Crane, JQBID Executive Director is demanding answers.
Our retailers have been robbed of a day’s trade thanks to the untimely protest at the weekend. Whilst I am a pro supporter of the right to protest, the timing of this rally and the fact that it was allowed to continue is unfathomable. Our businesses have had to endure a year of severe unrest so to have one of their busiest days of trade taken away from them is extremely upsetting.
We are calling on Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police and the Mayor of West Midlands to provide answers as to why this was allowed to continue and to provide reassurance that this will not happen again.
The JQBID is also deeply concerned as to why appropriate measures to protect and safeguard the local community were not put in place with over 1000 people and hundreds of vehicles taking part in the rally.
The failure to protect the businesses and residents of the Jewellery Quarter is inexcusable.
Many members of the crowd were not wearing masks and social distancing was not being observed. At a time where public health and safety is so important, I’m left bewildered as to why Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police did not adequately police this event.
A petition which has received more than 260 signatories is being issued to the Mayor of the West Midlands, Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police. It details a number of actions that businesses would like to see take place including compensation to be paid to local businesses and an immediate investigation to prevent future events from taking place without consultation.