Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Few arrests at EDL event and demo

Police look on at English Defence League protesters in Cambridge in July

Hundreds of rival protesters gathered in a small town where a march was banned by the Home Secretary.

An estimated 300 to 350 English Defence League (EDL) supporters gathered to listen to speeches in Telford, Shropshire, on Saturday while another 200 to 250 people attended a "unity rally" nearby in the town.

Home Secretary Theresa May banned the planned demonstration on Friday amid fears of violence, but said members of the group could still hold a static protest.

West Mercia Police officers made five arrests on Saturday morning but a spokesman for the force said both demonstrations passed without any real trouble, and most protesters had started to disperse by late afternoon.

The spokesman said: "The crowds were largely good-natured and there were only sporadic and isolated incidents of disorder in various parts of the town which were quickly dealt with by police.

"Two people were arrested en route to Telford and three in various parts of Wellington for public order offences and breach of bail."

He also said there are still large numbers of police on the streets and there had been no reports so far of any damage being caused to buildings or other property.

He said: "Our role is to facilitate peaceful assembly on the day, to ensure that the groups involved can exercise their democratic right to free speech whilst causing as little disruption as possible to those not involved, who want to go about their business as usual."

Chief Insp Gee also said that both groups were walked to their assembly sites in the company of police officers, but this was not to be confused with police protection and was rather a way of ensuring that everyone got to where needed without fear of provocation or disruption.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz