Clashes at British far-right demo

1st November 2009, Comments 0 comments

British far-right supporters were involved in minor clashes with opponents on Saturday, while a separate march in London calling for sharia law to be imposed was cancelled.

London - British far-right supporters were involved in minor clashes with opponents on Saturday, while a separate march in London calling for sharia law to be imposed was cancelled.

Around 1,500 anti-fascist protesters gathered in Leeds, northern England, to demonstrate against a protest by several hundred supporters of the far-right English Defence League.

Police said officers on horseback and using police dogs had largely kept the rival groups apart.

Clashes had been feared at the planned Islam4UK demonstration in central London, but Anjem Choudary, leader of the radical Islamic sect Al-Muhajiroun, said the march was cancelled because of security concerns.

A number of counter-demonstrations planned in London did take place, but on a small scale.

Only about 30 protesters gathered holding placards which read: "Islam will not dominate", "Free speech will dominate the world", and "March for England".

The Islamic Society of Britain, which was planning to stage a "dignified, non-violent" counter-demonstration, hailed the cancellation as a "great success".

A spokesman said: "Pressure from all sections of the community, including Muslims, has resulted in the Muhajiroun and the hot-heads rethinking their position."

The far-right in Britain has been under the spotlight since Nick Griffin, the leader of the anti-immigrant British National Party (BNP), appeared on the country's leading political TV panel programme, "Question Time", this month.

Griffin said on the programme that Islam was not compatible with life in Britain.

AFP/Expatica

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