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11 arrests at anti-Islam protest in England

London – Eleven men were arrested and a policewoman was taken to hospital Saturday after violence broke out at a far-right group’s demonstration against Islamic extremism in central England, police said.

The 29-year-old policewoman hurt her arm while policing a cordon at the protest by the English Defence League in the city of Nottingham, but no one else was seriously hurt in the skirmishes, Nottinghamshire police said.

About 500 members of the EDL, a marginal group which has staged a number of demonstrations against radical Islam in recent months, sang the English national anthem and football songs as they gathered in the city.

Many of them had their faces covered with scarves and hooded tops as they chanted: "We want our country back" and held aloft placards saying "Protect Women, No to Sharia (law)" and "No Surrender".

A counter-demonstration by Unite Against Fascism, who claim the EDL are a racist organisation, took place nearby, despite police requests that they move.

Concerns about immigration and Islamic extremism in Britain were highlighted by the success of the anti-immigration British National Party (BNP) in European elections this year, where they secured their first two MEPs.