Violent clashes have erupted between police and members of the English Defence League (EDL) during a city centre protest. Some 500 demonstrators from the EDL, many of whom had been drinking all morning, marched through Nottingham shouting: "We want our country back."
The hundreds of officers, many of whom had been drafted in by Nottinghamshire Police, surrounded the rally. Officers mounted on horses were forced to keep back some of the demonstrators with batons while some constables had dogs to try and contain the violence. Many of the demonstrators had their faces covered with hooded tops and scarves and shouted: "Allah, Allah, who the f*** is Allah?"
Other protesters had Union Jacks and St George's flags which they either waved or wrapped around their shoulders as a police officer barked instructions at the crowd from a helicopter circling overhead. Some of the group waved placards which read: "Protect Women, No To Sharia" and "No Surrender".
The English Defence League claims it is not a racist organisation, has no links to the BNP and is simply standing against the threat of Islamic extremism. A spokesman said they had planned the demo for Saturday as the Second Battalion the Mercian Regiment was holding a homecoming parade in Nottingham following a recent tour of Afghanistan. Adding to the police workload, Unite Against Fascism decided to hold a counter protest.