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Police arrest 48 during EDL rally

By Will Astbury

FORTY-eight men were arrested on Saturday 10 October 2009 in connection with the English Defence League demonstrations which took place in Manchester city centre.

Reports from Greater Manchester Police (GMP) suggest that most of the men were arrested on suspicion of public order offences.

Earlier in the day, around 2,000 people took part in the Englsh Defence League (EDL) rally and counter protests in Piccadilly Gardens.

During the rally, one man was also arrested on suspicion of obstructing a police officer, another on suspicion of possessing drugs and a third on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon, as well as a public order offence.

Garry Shewan, assistant chief constable with GMP, said: “I would like to thank all those people who came to Manchester and protested peacefully for their patience and understanding.

“I’d also like to commend the vast majority for demonstrating in a peaceful manner.

“However, the history of protest has been marred by those who came intent on violent confrontation.

“GMP has ensured that despite the significant size of the protest, life in the city went on as normal.”

The EDL is an organisation that is against Islamic extremism in Britain and disputes that it has any connection between it and fascism or the British National Party (BNP).

It claims to welcome any race or faith into the organisation and that it was planning a peaceful demonstration in Manchester city centre.

However, several local groups called for a ban on the EDL rally after earlier protests by the group in Luton and Birmingham resulted in serious public disorder and dozens of arrests by police. At the Birmingham event more than 90 arrests were made.

On these occasions, as in Manchester, it was not clear whether the violence was started by the EDL or by the individuals and organisations that oppose it.

Greater Manchester Unite Against Fascism (GMUAF) organised a counter protest to the EDL’s rally in Manchester on the same day.

The GMUAF released a statement which said: “We strongly oppose plans by the ‘English Defence League’, a group linked to the fascist BNP.

“EDL is a racist group dedicated to attacking Asian people and Muslims. Islamophobia is as unacceptable as any other form of racism. Its aim is to divide us by making scapegoats of one community, just as the Nazis did with the Jews in the 1930s.

“There is no place for Nazis, racists or the BNP in Manchester’s multicultural and multi religious community.”

The EDL claim that they accept Muslim members but reject extremism. On YouTube, videos of EDL supports can be found burning Nazi flags and carrying banners stating ‘black and white unite’ and ‘love England hate extremism’.

However, the link between EDL rallies and violence cannot be ignored.


3 Responses

  1. The total of arrests regarding this demonstration has gone up to 50.

    Twenty three men were bailed, 11 were served fixed penalty notices, six men were charged, six were arrested for breaching the peace, three were cautioned and one was reprimanded.

  2. edl are not racists most arrests were due to bully tactics towards edl protesters

  3. […] you would like to find out more about the EDL protests in Manchester click here to see Manchester Mouth’s earlier […]

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