News24

30 held after UK protests

2009-10-10 19:38

Manchester - At least 30 people were arrested when a group demonstrating against Islamic fundamentalism clashed with anti-racism protesters in Britain on Saturday, police said.

Trouble flared as supporters of the English Defence League (EDL) and hundreds of activists from the Unite Against Facism movement faced off in Manchester, northwest England.

Several hundred police in riot gear separated the EDL protesters, who waved placards saying "No More Mosques in England", from the rival demonstration across a square in the city.

Police said a total of around 2 000 people took part.

A police spokesperson said most of the arrests were for public order offences, but no one was injured.

It was the latest protest mounted by the EDL, after a similar demonstration in England's second-biggest city, Birmingham, last month and a protest by an affiliated group in London on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Its supporters were planning to hold a two-minute silence for British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan before singing the national anthem.

The group denies it is racist, insisting in a statement on its website that it is a "multi-ethnic, multi-faith organisation".