Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

14 arrested during EDL protest

Police made 14 arrests during a protest by EDL supporters in Preston

Police made 14 arrests during a protest by supporters of the far-right group the English Defence League.

Around 1,000 people joined the demonstration by the EDL in Preston city centre, and 150 counter-demonstrators from Unite Against Fascism gathered nearby.

Chief Superintendent Tim Jacques, Divisional Commander for Preston, said: "Although there were minor scuffles amongst the EDL demonstrators, there were only 14 arrests for drunken or disorderly behaviour.

"Today's (Saturday) events have passed mostly without incident and I would like to thank the local community for their help and tolerance during the events and the lead up to them. All our officers and staff should also be commended for their efforts, as well as those who have worked alongside us from other organisations, in particular Preston City Council.

"Preston is proud to be a diverse and understanding city where people respect each other and get on well together. The aim of today was to allow peaceful protest which we have demonstrated is possible through careful planning and successful communication at all levels.

At a separate EDL protest in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, four men and a teenage boy were arrested.

Warwickshire Police said a 21-year-old from Nottingham was detained on suspicion of robbery, a 42-year-old from Barnsley, South Yorkshire, was arrested on suspicion of being drunk and disorderly, a 23-year-old from Nuneaton was held for an alleged public order offence, and a 44-year-old man from Walsall, West Midlands, was arrested on suspicion of affray.

A 17-year-old from Nuneaton was held on suspicion of being in possession of a bladed article.

A spokeswoman said: "We are grateful for the support of local communities for today's operation and apologise for any unavoidable disruption caused to local residents, most of whom were able to go about their normal business. The vast majority of shopkeepers and market traders opened as normal although two car parks and a small number of roads had to be temporarily closed. Police inquiries and investigations in relation to those arrested will continue over the weekend and beyond."

The spokeswoman said officers were maintaining "a higher than normal visible presence" in the town.

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