Eight held in clashes at far-right protest
LONDON — Police arrested eight people Saturday in Leicester as far-right, anti-Islamist protesters clashed with riot officers and hurled bricks and smoke bombs, officials said.
The violence broke out as police tried to keep around 1,000 members of the English Defence League (EDL) away from a rival demonstration by 700 protesters from Unite Against Fascism (UAF), said Leicestershire Police.
Police said one of the arrested men was from the Netherlands.
The EDL has held numerous protests in recent months against Islamic extremism. It was recently linked to the burning of a Koran in northern England to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.
One policeman suffered a leg injury in the demonstration in Leicester and was taken away on a stretcher, while several EDL supporters were seen being treated by police medics.
Sporadic clashes broke out between EDL supporters and members of ethnic minority communities some distance from the protest, but police said they were quickly dispersed.
The EDL supporters, who carried banners with slogans including “Sharia laws will destroy Britain and all our British values”, later agreed to board waiting coaches and leave the area, police said.