29 arrests made at 'largely peaceful' protests
By CarlyBaldwin | Monday, October 01, 2012, 09:52
West Midlands Police have confirmed that 29 people were arrested in Walsall town centre on Saturday as rival groups staged static protests.
There was a strong police presence in the town centre on Saturday
The English Defence League (EDL) held a demonstration in Leicester Street, while groups opposing the EDL staged a protest aimed at promoting diversity in Walsall.
Up to 1000 people gathered to take part in one of the two events.
A police statement later read: "Both events were largely peaceful, with minor disorder seen at the EDL protest as the event drew to a close. A small number of protesters and police officers sustained minor cuts and bruises during disorder, however no serious injuries were reported.
"Around 28 arrests were made in the Leicester Street area during this time, with a further opposition protester arrested elsewhere in the town."
The was minor disruption to local transport as police looked to keep the public away from the protests, but Chief Superintendent Dave Sturman said locals had been 'tolerant, co-operative and patient' towards the police operation.
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Forsyth added: "Our priority will always be the safety of the public and protesters while ensuring events like these do not impact on the longer term stability of Walsall's communities.
"While we will always uphold the democratic right to protest, organisations intent on disorder or provoking violence will continue to be unwelcome in the West Midlands."