By Joe Willetts – Online News Editor
Chaotic scenes in Preston City Centre as violence erupted between opposing groups; The North West Infidels and Lancashire Association of Trades Union Councils, holding a counter demonstration.
The NW Infidels, a splinter group of the English Defence League, held a demonstration earlier today protesting Preston’s intake of Refugees following the Syrian Crisis.
The incidents included firecrackers and smoke bombs being thrown, on Frairgate where, NW Infidel supporters were cornered off whilst their talk was being delivered near the Harris Art Museum.
Preston Polices official twitter account recounted that “During the demonstration there were some pockets of disorder and incidents. These are being investigated. One arrest has been made so far.”
The NW Infidels march began at the Bull and Royal pub at 2pm featured a fraction of the 270 supporters scheduled to attend. They brandished signs saying ‘are they refugees or are they ISIS’ and ‘support out truckers, secure our borders’ as they walked to Fishergate.
Due to the incidents police presence was high throughout the protest and a police helicopter kept constants surveillance on the march.
The opposing demonstration was held at the flag market by the Lancashire Association of Trades Union Councils (LATUC). To oppose the racist and fascist views held by those of the far right group.
Peter Billington, LATUC secretary, told the LEP: “We have called a peaceful demonstration to show that the so-called NW Infidels are not welcome in Preston. No-one invited these people into the City.”
Wayne Bennett of Unite Against Fascism, supporters of the event, also said to the LEP that “Preston has a fine tradition of helping the people who need it most, and even in the 1930s and 40s, when the town itself was experiencing hard times, it held out the hand of friendship to the Kindertransport refugees, escaping the Nazis. To hold an Anti-Refugee rally is an insult to the city.”