July 17, 2010
Posted by Denise
A second "peaceful" demonstration by the English Defence League descended into violence on Saturday when 500 members of the Islamaphobic organisation were bussed into Dudley to protest against the building of a "super mosque" - even though plans for the development were abandoned weeks ago.
20 arrests were made when the EDL tore down barriers and attempted to break out of the car park set aside for their protest. EDL members offered violence when police moved in to contain the attempted breakout, and according to Sky News many more could have been arrested, given the level of disorder. It is reported that the EDL ripped drainpipes from nearby houses to use as weapons, and hurled house bricks at the police.
When the rally ended there was a stand-off with police as the EDL boarded their coaches, said reporters with the Stourbridge News, and a "couple of hundred supporters" attempted to make their way through the town centre to an anti-EDL rally organised by Unite Against Fascism. The UAF rally passed off peacefully.
Journalists covering the EDL rally were targets of foul-mouthed abuse, along with the police. Several report that the EDL engaged in openly racist chanting, and police are investigating damage to a Hindu temple, believed to have been caused by EDL members.
Several EDL supporters required treatment by police medics.
A previous 1500-strong EDL demonstration in Dudley cost the local council over £150,000 and resulted in 12 arrests. Last week EDL supporter Kevin Smith, 52, of Brierley Hill, was found guilty of religiously aggravated intentional harassment after putting a pig's head on the wall of Dudley central mosque. Smith was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months.
Muslims account for about 2.5% of the population of Dudley.