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Activists clash with police as EDL and anti-fascist groups stage rival protests

unnamed (1)Activists clashed with police in central London today as the far-right English Defence League and anti-fascist groups staged rival protests.

A march and rally planned by the EDL took place near to counter demonstrations by United Against Fascism and United Against Extremism.

Images showed police grappling with protesters, while officers formed barriers along some parts of the route.

Six people taking part in the demonstrations were arrested by Met police officers for “various offences”.

 

Around 50 EDL protesters made their way from a pub near Trafalgar Square to a rally on the Victoria Embankment on Saturday afternoon.

Some carried banners and St George’s Cross flags, while others covered their faces as they chanted “EDL” and “Whose streets? Our streets.”

 

They were met with cries of “Nazi scum, off our streets” as officers kept them separated from anti-fascist groups, including Unite Against Fascism (UAF), who were holding their counter-demonstration on the Embankment some 50 metres away.

EDL speakers made reference to recent deadly terror attacks in Manchester and London.

One was greeted with cheers as he said if the Islamist attacks continued: “I’ll be the first white suicide bomber in England.”

 

But tensions died down as EDL demonstrators talked among themselves in smaller groups while music played within a metal cordon, surrounded by police.

On Friday, Scotland Yard said it was taking action under public order laws over the marches planned for Saturday “due to concerns of serious public disorder, and disruption to the community”.

Superintendent Emma Richards said: “We have made the decision to impose conditions based on current tensions and concerns, information about the intentions of the organisers of these events and intelligence from previous marches held by similar groups.”

Rules laid down by police meant the EDL march was only allowed to legally take place for 90 minutes from 1pm.

The counter-demonstration by UAF was allowed to take place on the Victoria Embankment only between 12.30pm and 3pm.

 

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