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  1. ITV Report

Police make 15 arrests during EDL protest

An operation was put in place by Greater Manchester Police, Manchester City Council and the community in the lead up to today’s demonstration on Saturday 2 March 2013, to facilitate the protest.

The police and Council worked with event organisers and local community members to agree a suitable area for protestors to hold a static demonstration.The demonstration, which took place in Albert Square, was attended by around 700 English Defence League protestors and 350 of the counter demonstrators.

In total police made 15 arrests for public order offences, twelve were affiliated to the EDL and three were affiliated to the UAF.

There was an increased police presence to manage the demonstration and ensure that local businesses, residents and shoppers felt reassured.

The EDL demonstrators met at Water Street and the police controlled their movement to the demonstration site at Albert Square. Once the protest had finished, police then picked the protesters up in buses and took them back to their coaches and train stations across the city.

The UAF demonstrators met at Piccadilly gardens and walked up to Albert Square. Once the protest finished police facilitated their walk back to Piccadilly gardens.

Chief Superintendent John O’Hare said: “I would like to thank both the people of Manchester and the majority of protestors for their conduct today.

“It was always going to be a challenging operation with tensions running high between two groups of people who are vehemently opposed to each other.

“There have been fifteen arrests and out of a thousand protesters it is not uncommon for an event of this size.

“GMP respects everyone's right to a protest, but at the same time we have to balance this with the concerns of people in our local communities.

“We, the council and the communities of Manchester have worked hard over the last couple of weeks in order to facilitate this protest in a safe and responsible manner, reducing the risk of disorder by ensuring there were no surprises. Today, this work has paid off.

“There was only minimal trouble at any point during the day and for most of Manchester city centre, it was just a case of business as usual.

“There will remain an increased police presence in Manchester city centre and the surrounding area throughout the rest of the day and into the night.”

Councillor Bernard Priest, Manchester City Council's executive member for neighbourhood services, said: "While nobody in Manchester wanted this event to be held here, it is to the credit of both Greater Manchester Police and Manchester's residents that today's rally passed without serious incident. I'd like to thank them for their conduct today.

"The police handled today's event excellently, with protestors escorted to and from the protest area as planned, and members of our many diverse communities showed the good judgement to ignore the rally and treat the day just as they would any other Saturday in our thriving city centre."

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