Monday, 12 April 2010

Midlands Town "Target" of Far-Right Group.

By Ben Aulakh

A leading member of a Midlands Council has expressed his dismay at their town being the “target” of an anti-Islamic group on Saturday April 4.

John Polychronakis, Chief Executive at Dudley Council has reacted strongly to a march by the far-right organisation, the English Defence League.

He said, “We are extremely disappointed that Dudley was targeted by the EDL and are saddened to witness their public disorder and violence. This was not a peaceful demonstration.

“Dudley Council made it clear from the outset that it was opposed to the protest taking place and we worked closely with the police to do all we could to protect and support local people and local businesses.”

More than 2000 supporters of the organisation descended on the town, the group describes itself as opposed to “Islamism”, which they describe as “a vile and virulent ideology.”

The EDL claim that the march was in protest to a proposed Mosque being built in the town, the planning permission for which was granted back in Summer 2008.

A similar opposition protest of around 1500 people from the group “Unite Against Facism was recognised by the council and police as “passing off peacefully as intended.”

West Midlands Police – who handled the demonstration – said, “A flashpoint came when members of the EDL broke through barriers at their protest site as they were about to be escorted back to their coaches.

“However they were quickly contained by police and directed to waiting vehicles that took them away after the event.”

The centre of Dudley was a relative ghost town on Saturday as shops were shut down and even the weekly Saturday market did not take place.

Mr Polychronakis added” We are saddened that local businesses and traders have had to bear the brunt of this disruption, resulting in considerable loss of income.

“People from all communities across Dudley borough get on very well and we are grateful to our local residents for largely staying away from the protest and not being provoked by extremists from outside of the area.”

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