Most of 29 arrests at Dudley march opposed EDL

Most of the people arrested after an English Defence League march in Dudley were counter protesters, it has emerged.

Most of 29 arrests at Dudley march opposed EDL

Police said five out of the 29 people arrested were supporters of the far-right EDL. But the rest were counter protesters, including supporters of the group Unite Against Fascism.

Officers arrested the people for breaching the peace during the protests on February 7 in the town centre. Most were released without charge.

Around 50 members of Unite Against Fascism held a counter-protest in Castle Street while EDL protesters gathered outside the council house on Priory Road after marching from King Street, where a 45-minute demonstration was held.

The breakdown on the arrests was confirmed by West Midlands Police following a Freedom of Information request.

The force drafted in hundreds of extra officers from as far away as Wales to deal with the threat on the day. Policing the event cost taxpayers £321,000.

Hundreds of officers from across the country were called in as more than 600 members of the far right organisation descended on the town.

Some 70 shops closed for the day due to a fear of a repeat of the violence and vandalism that occurred in the town during an EDL protest in 2010.

From the £321,000 policing cost, £147,000 was spent on bringing officers from other forces and £174,000 went on planning and operational costs.

Afterwards, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said he was worried about the wider impact the march in Dudley had on policing across the region.

Police formed a ring to keep the EDL apart from the 50 members of a counter-demo in Castle Street.

Dudley Council had to pay £25,000 to put up and manage barriers, as well as cleaning up afterwards. And it was estimated hundreds of thousands of pounds was lost in trade as the protestors descended on Dudley town centre.

On February 15 the council staged a fun day in the town to make up for the disruption caused.

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