English Defence League clash with anti-jubilee protesters in Newcastle
- by Dan Warburton, The Journal
- Jun 5 2012
POLICE mounted a major operation yesterday after protesters clashed in a city centre confrontation.
Officers were called to Grey’s Monument in Newcastle after English Defence League (EDL) and National Front members stormed the area during an anti-jubilee rally.
Bottles were thrown and pro-republican protesters were escorted away from the scene after pockets of disorder broke out. Last night an organiser of the anti-jubilee group criticised the clashes and claimed a member of his group had suffered injuries.
The teenager, who did not want to be named, said: “We had planned a pro-republican demonstration but the EDL and the National Front and the Infidels charged at the Monument and ripped our banners down.
“Fighting broke out and bottles were thrown and so were firecrackers. One of my friends was injured and had to go to hospital.”
Fierce clashes erupted shortly after 11am yesterday when a planned meeting was circulated on social networking site Facebook.
The “Stuff the jubilee party” was due to start at midday but confrontations broke out before the arrival of all the protesters.
Police mounted an operation to calm the confrontations and more than 25 officers helped bring the situation under control. Following the disruption, members of the EDL unveiled large banners with the phrase ‘EDL North East’ written on it.
Firecrackers erupted and sent loud thuds echoing across the city as shoppers stopped to watch the gathering crowd.
Others logged on to the Facebook group to post comments. A spokesman for Northumbria Police said no arrests were made during the operation.
In 2010, marches by the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism drew parts of the city centre to a halt as the planned demonstrations closed roads and some businesses.
But major clashes feared by police failed to materialise as uniformed officers formed a ring of steel around the enemy factions.
However, at one stage police intervened to prevent disorder as members of the EDL were confronted by a Unite Against Facism breakaway group.