Monday, 23 November 2009

Wrexham Leader: Crowds boo EDL in Wrexham

This report from the Leader

FOUR people were arrested during a demonstration held in Wrexham on Saturday afternoon.

About 80 marchers gathered in the town centre, congregating at the Elihu Yale pub.
The march had been arranged by an organisation called the Welsh Defence League, saying it was against Muslim extremism. Critics of the demonstration accused those taking part of being right wing extremists.

People from a number of other areas had been expected to travel to Wrexham to boost the ranks of the demonstrators.

When a large flag of St George with the word England was unfurled on the street outside the pub and the demonstrators started to sing the English national anthem, they were met with a sustained chorus of booing from passing shoppers.

There was a large police presence from early on in the day, with officers on foot patrol and in regular convoys of vehicles from a number of forces including North Wales, Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

During the march, police closed off Regent Street for a period and worked to ensure that potentially volatile groups were kept apart.

Temporary Deputy Chief Constable Ian Shannon said: "I am pleased with the success of the police operation today.

"Our aim had always been to allow the protest to pass peacefully while taking into account the rights of the people of Wrexham to go about their normal business.

"I would like to thank them for their patience and understanding for any disruption that was caused.

"People have a right to protest, but our priority is to safeguard the public and maintain order, which I am pleased to say we achieved today."

Divisional commander Ruth Purdie added: "Apart from the minor disruption, the people of Wrexham were able to go about their usual business safely and without hindrance.

"There were a number of unrelated events in the town today and I'm pleased say these were able to go ahead without hindrance.

"Within a very short time of the demonstration taking place police had escorted the marchers away from the shopping area and the town was back to normal."

A number of groups opposed to the demonstration organised a counter event at Queen's Square, called Wrexham Communities Festival. It featured a wide range of attractions and promoted the message that the town was against racists.

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