Belfast Telegraph

EU Election 2019

Bricks thrown at election campaign event for tommy Robinson

Protesters against Tommy Robinson try to stop a campaign van arriving at Douglas Place in Bootle, Merseyside, during an election campaign event
Protesters against Tommy Robinson try to stop a campaign van arriving at Douglas Place in Bootle, Merseyside, during an election campaign event

By Eleanor Barlow

Police are determined to identify people who hurled objects and abuse in a disturbance at a Tommy Robinson campaign event, a chief superintendent has said.

Two police vehicles were damaged during the disorder in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on Saturday afternoon.

Footage posted on social media showed clashes between supporters of the campaigner, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, and counter-demonstrators.

Greater Manchester Police said eggs and bricks had been thrown, and those responsible for acting in "such a disgusting way" would be identified and brought in for questioning.

The force said no-one was seriously injured, and reports someone had been stabbed were false.

Chief Supt Neil Evans said speculation was "unhelpful", but urged anyone with footage to come forward.

In a statement released yesterday, he said: "For the small few who ruin this for everyone else, let me be clear; you can expect to be identified, investigated by us and brought in for questioning.

"Everyone should be able to exercise their right to free speech but when people hide behind this to hurl objects and abuse and act in such a disgusting way, there simply is no excuse.

"Since last night, we've been working alongside our partners and people in the community and will continue to do so over the coming days. I understand that people will still have concerns around this and while our investigation continues, officers will be patrolling the area, so feel free to approach them with any concerns you may have.

"Speculation around what happened is proving unhelpful, but if you do have footage or images that could help our investigation, please send them directly to us."

Police Supt Danny Inglis said the sound of fireworks at the event may have been misinterpreted as gunshots, and added: "Those who believe it to be acceptable to throw fireworks can also expect to be investigated by the dedicated team of detectives who will be working on the case."

A live video posted on Facebook by a group calling itself the Muslim Defence League showed a group of Asian men standing and shouting at the other crowd across the police blockade, with some throwing objects and shouting "racist scum".

A separate live video shared on YouTube by Danny Tommo, an associate of Robinson, appeared to show the clashes from the other perspective. In the clip, he claims bricks are being thrown at his group.

Robinson is standing as an EU candidate for the North West.

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph