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EDL march and counter-protest in Rochdale pass peacefully

The EDL supporters, whose numbers fitted comfortably inside two double decker buses, were later transported out of town and the protest dispersed.

A march by the English Defence League in Rochdale and a counter-protest have passed off peacefully.

Both sets of demonstrators were well outnumbered by a couple of hundred police officers brought in from as far away as Cheshire and North Wales.

The right-wing EDL march followed another protest by Britain First held last week in the town, which was the centre of a child sex grooming scandal by Asian men in 2012.

Around 100 EDL protesters, waving Union Jack and St George’s flags, marched through the town escorted by mounted police and foot patrols before a short demo to hear speeches.

Officers on duty were berated, with EDL speakers claiming they were “nowhere” to be seen when gangs were preying on white girls.

A smaller counter-demonstration by Unite Against Fascism, which heard speeches against the rise of “Islamaphobia” was corralled by officers and kept away from EDL marchers.

The EDL supporters, whose numbers fitted comfortably inside two double decker buses, were later transported out of town and the protest dispersed.

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