Update: Eleven Arrested During EDL Rally in Rochdale

10 of the 11 arrested by police in Rochdale were EDL members (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

Eleven arrested during EDL rally in Rochdale

Eleven men were arrested by police today during a rally by the English Defence League in Rochdale.

More than 400 members of the far-right organisation gathered for around two hours outside the town hall. The majority were brought into the town centre on buses and coaches from a nearby retail park at 1pm.

Many gathered outside pubs on Packer Street amid a heavy police presence before they were escorted by officers to a pen on the car park outside the town hall. Officers dealt with a handful of minor skirmishes as the group marched the short distance to the car park from Packer Street.

Two fireworks, believed to be bangers, later exploded at the feet of crowds stood outside the pen near to the Post Office on The Esplanade. No one was injured.

Greater Manchester Police said eleven men were arrested on suspicion of various offences. Ten of those arrested were attending the EDL rally. An eleventh arrest was made at nearby Broadfield Park, where a counter-demonstration and unity rally was held.

Police dog handlers and mounted police were positioned around the demonstration zone.

Manchester Evening News, 9 June 2012

EDL demonstrations don’t seem to be getting any larger do they? Judging by the photo below, even the “more than 400″ figure would appear to be an exaggeration. Rochdale Online‘s report that only “around 200 of the anticipated 600 EDL members” turned up for the protest is probably more accurate. So much for the biggest street movement in history.

EDL Shock Troops Get Ready to Descend on Rochdale

The EDL’s coming to town, to spread “racial tensions and incite violence.”

EDL get ready to descend on Rochdale

Rochdale shop owners are preparing ahead of tomorrow’s English Defence League march. The far-right movement will descend on the town at 1.30pm to demonstrate against what they see as an expansion of Muslim extremism.

Rochdale MP Simon Danczuk urged the town to continue as usual. He said: “Tomorrow’s ‘protest’ is nothing more than an attempt to stir up racial tensions and incite violence. The police are fully prepared to deal with this and the protest will be outside of the town centre, which will be open for business as usual. I would urge everyone to continue to support local shops and businesses.”

Local group Rochdale Unity, who will be holding a counter protest at the same time, accused EDL of exploiting the recent case of sexual exploitation of young women in Heywood, which saw nine Asian men handed prison sentences.

EDL splinter group Casuals United have issued a “fatwa” against any media who attend tomorrow’s event without having been invited by EDL leaders, saying they will be treated as “hostile”.

Mancunian Matters, 8 June 2012