Arrests in Manchester protests

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Protests ‘Relatively Peaceful’, says Greater Manchester police chief

FORTY-eight people were arrested as two rival groups came head-to-head in Manchester on the weekend.

Police in fluorescent jackets stood between hundreds of anti-Islam protesters from the English Defence League and anti-racist counter-demonstrators in the city on Saturday.

Over 2,000 people gathered for the protests in Piccadilly Gardens with hundreds of police officers in riot gear separating the two groups.

Police confirmed 48 arrests had been made, but added on a whole the protests were “peaceful”.

Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan from Greater Manchester Police said: “The presence of so many protesters in the city has proved a challenge and while many have turned out to protest peacefully the police reaction has been necessary in order to prevent the few hell-bent on violent confrontation.”

Previous protests by the English Defence League in Birmingham saw running battles erupt between rival groups and police.

The EDL, who have been accused of spreading an anti-Muslim agenda, have said they will continue to hold anti-Islam protests across the country.

The group will hold their next two protests in Wales this month, before moving on to Leeds and Nottingham.

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