PLANS to permanently close a busy road in Middlesbrough town centre have left the Mayor with egg on his face.
A meeting of Middlesbrough Council’s executive was disrupted by "mob" behaviour as Ray Mallon was targeted by abusive members of the Asian community who threw eggs at him.
After the meeting today (Tuesday, March 4) he hit out at the behaviour of a small selection of people who packed out a meeting at Middlesbrough Town Hall to hear the decision to permanently close Southfield Road in the town.
More than 60 people attended the meeting, which took place following a protest march through the town.
They were registering their opposition to the proposed closure of Southfield Road to make way for the next phase of Teesside University’s campus.
As Mr Mallon outlined his reasons for supporting the closure a number of eggs were thrown at members of the committee and there were verbal outbursts from the public gallery which was cleared as a result of the unruly behaviour.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Mallon said: “The throwing of eggs and the use of foul and abusive language at a council meeting is outrageous, and I want the public to know how these people behave when they don’t get their way.
“People who behave like this don’t understand or uphold democracy – their intention is to disrupt it.
“This was disgraceful behaviour by a small section of the Asian community whose only aim is cause trouble, and threaten and intimidate those who stand in their way.
“As an example, one member of this group some 18 months ago was suggesting that he would burn the University down if this proposal went ahead. The matter was rightly reported to the police and the individual spoken to.
“Similarly, a significant element of the group who attended today’s meeting displayed a mob mentality, and they attempted to hijack democracy. They failed miserably.
“No member of this council will show any weakness in the face of this sort of behaviour which has no place in a civilised society.”
The closure of the road has been strongly opposed by members of the Asian community and some local councillors, including John McPartland and Pervaz Khan.
Last May, the section of Southfield Road between Woodlands Road and Southfield Lane was shut initially for a six-month trial.
The experimental road closure formed part of ongoing plans by Teesside University to create a pedestrianised “campus heart”.
After today’s meeting the road will be permanently closed.