English Defence League march through Manchester

A protest and march by the English Defence League (EDL) in Manchester has passed off peacefully.

The group, numbering around 50-strong, were outnumbered by a counter-demonstration of around 150 people organised by the group called Stand Up To Racism.

Both sides were well outnumbered by police officers, who had been drafted in from Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales, to help local officers keep order.

Both sets of protesters, held demonstrations and heard speeches, separated by lines of police and metal barriers, on Saturday afternoon in Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre.

The EDL supporters were marched to and from Piccadilly train station corralled by lines of police officers for the event.

Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry of Greater Manchester Police, said: “Today an EDL protest and counter protest took place in Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre.

“In the lead up to this event, we worked closely with the organisers and our partners at Transport for Greater Manchester, Manchester City Council and British Transport Police to reduce impact on the public and minimise the risk of disorder.

“I am happy to say that the overwhelming majority of people who exercised their democratic right to protest have done so peacefully and the demonstration has passed with little disruption.

“There have been two arrests, which is not uncommon for an event of this size.

“There is still a major police operation in place to ensure the rest of the day continues in the same manner, and all of the other events happening in the city run smoothly.”