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EDL protest in Middlesbrough

EDL protest in Middlesbrough

Categories: Latest News

Wednesday July 02 2014

The Darlington and Stockton Times, Evening Gazette, Northern Echo, ITV News and BBC News all report on the English Defence League’s protest in Middlesbrough last Saturday.

The EDL march was preceded by a counter-rally early in the afternoon with around 150 anti-racism supporters turning up. The Northern Echo notes the anti-EDL rally was attended by Labour MP Andy McDonald, local councillors and the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger.

Around 350 people took part in the EDL protest with the papers reporting that EDL supporters travelled from as far as London and Scotland to participate.

Overall, more than three hundred police officers were deployed to police the demonstrations at a cost of £30,000, with officers drawn from Cleveland, Durham, Northumbria police forces as well as British Transport Police.

The papers observe that demonstrators had been warned before the march that banners, flags and placards that might incite disorder would be banned along with anything that could be used to cause injury or damage. Despite the forewarning, placards stating “not racist”, “FGM”, “no forced marriage”, “ban the burka”, “no more Muslim or foreign groomers in the North East”, and “Islam causes more deaths a day than cancer does” were written on EDL flags that were waved about on the day.

Moreover, the Evening Gazette notes that as the EDL rally passed by Asian men standing by the roadside, some EDL supporters began chanting “Scum, scum, scum.”

The march was temporarily halted by the police after a firework exploded. A second firework caused an eruption with other disorder including a glass bottle being thrown which injured a woman’s leg. Glass bottles and another firework were also thrown towards another group of Asian men, one of whom had a child on his shoulders.

Julia Breen, from the Northern Echo, reports:

“Insulting comments about the Prophet Muhammad ring round the pub as the crowd sings in unison.”

During the march, far right supporters were met by a female bystander wearing a hijab.

Breen observed “Immediately, the crowd pushes against the police lines towards her, while officers try to contain it. There is shouting and abuse drowned out by more abuse, fingers pointing at her, people trying to reach her. The woman knows they can’t get to her through the police and she taunts them, shouting back.”

The march ended with a gathering for speeches in front of the Teesside Crown Court where Breen heard one EDL marcher tell the crowd: “My dogs were poisoned by Muslims.

“My sister was raped by Muslims.”

His comments were welcomingly received by his audience.

The Evening Gazette notes the remarks of another speaker who said, “When will the government admit that there’s an epidemic of child grooming happening right now.”

One man was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and another on suspicion of assaulting a police officer. 

Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger, further expressed: “The whole operation has been well planned and in consultation with our local communities and businesses.

“Clearly the priority for the police today has been to facilitate each demonstration while ensuring the safety of the public and I am pleased that the day has passed off peacefully.” 


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