Protesters clash in Britain

2009-09-05 22:56

Birmingham - Police arrested more than 30 men on Saturday after violence broke out at a protest against Islamic extremism in the central English city of Birmingham.

Supporters of the English Defence League, which campaigns against Islamic fundamentalism in Britain, clashed with opponents who argue that they are racists and facists.

Police said they had arrested "more than 30 men" in connection with the violence, which took place in a busy shopping street and involved about 200 people, despite the presence of dozens of riot police.

"Officers acted quickly and robustly to quell pockets of disorder caused by several groups of 20 to 30 men. Police estimate around 200 people in total were involved in the trouble," a police statement said.

Police had warned they would deal with any troublemakers "robustly" after similar clashes in the city last month, and the English Defence League had also urged its supporters to avoid being drawn into fights.

"We would like to state that anyone who wishes to cause trouble, or use this demonstration to voice any other issues other than Islamic fundamentalists, radical Islam and Sharia will be turned away," the EDL says on its website.