The English Defence League (EDL) could target Ely following its march in Cambridge. Muslims want to build a ‘miniature mosque’ at Paradise Centre fields, but the EDL could take to Ely’s streets against it.
Police estimated more than 1,000 people attended the two marches on Saturday - the EDL march and counter-protest in Cambridge by Unite Against Fascism and the Trades Council.
Arbury resident Ross Ground, 32, a member of EDL’s Cambridge Division, said: “I cannot confirm there will be a march in Ely but members of the East Anglian branch who came on Saturday said they were looking into it if the plans for a mosque go ahead. I think the march on Saturday went off pretty well and there were only a few arrests. We had about 700 to 1,000 members attend. The police were fully co-operative with us.”
The management committee of the Ely centre told the city’s Muslims it would lease them part of its land if they gained planning permission. The group has around 50 members who gather inside the centre on Fridays.
Mohammed Tahir, from Ely, said: “The EDL have threatened to march in Ely if the Muslim community of Ely go ahead with plans to build a mosque here.”
More than 650 officers and staff from six forces, including Cambridgeshire, policed the EDL and opposition march by the Trade Union Council and Unite Against Fascism, which claimed it had around 2,000 attend. Police praised Cambridge residents following Saturday’s protests.
Insp Robin Sissons said: “They are familiar with and generally supportive of protest activity and this was evident on Saturday. Their tolerance, combined with the joint operation by police and partner agencies, meant the protests were largely peaceful with only minor disorder and some minor disruption to residents, visitors and businesses in the city.”
He added: “It was heartening to hear that members of the community who reported tension before the protests, then praised the tone and nature of the policing operation after it was complete.”
Thanks to NewsHound for the heads-up