No trouble in March as English Defence League supporters make their way to Peterborough protest
A GROUP of English Defence League supporters have arrived at a protest in Peterborough after boarding trains in March without any trouble.
Police had planned for up to 1,000 supporters to converge on the town prior to the march, but numbers turned out to be lower than expected.
A group of fewer than 100 supporters chanted against what the organisation sees as the militant rise of Islam as they were escorted through the town by police.
The EDL supporters boarded the 11.16 train to Peterborough. There was no disruption to March station’s 125th anniversary celebrations and no arrests were made. Two people have already been arrested in Peterborough on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon.
Alan Neville, Area Manager for National Express East Anglia, said carriages had been added to trains to help transport the protestors.
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“I’m very pleased indeed,” said Mr Neville. “The whole morning has been a real success - there were no clashes at all.
“The EDL supporters were very peaceful and the police have been very supportive in the pre-planning and on the day. I am very proud of the way this morning has been handled.”
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Officers were present at the station, with some on the platform and others joining the EDL supporters for the train journey to Peterborough.
Earlier this morning the station celebrated the anniversary of the platforms, with the Christmas White Rose steam train passing just after 8.30am.
“The whole event went terrifically well,” said Mr Neville. “Fortuitously, the steam engine was running a bit late, which meant it was light for the photographers by the time it came through. There was absolutely no interference with the anniversary celebrations.”
Shops in Peterborough city centre have been closed and police are on standby for the protest, where thousands of EDL supporters are expected to line the streets.
A counter protest by the Peterborough Trade Unions Council is also taking place.
A police spokesman said: “There will be a visible police presence in March throughout the day as part of contingency plans should members of the EDL return to the town after the demonstrations.”