About 200 to 300 supporters of the racist English Defence League (EDL) were bussed in to Manchester’s Albert Square today (Saturday). They held a rally inside a police kettle.
Meanwhile around 500 anti-fascists gathered in Piccadilly Gardens for a rally organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF) and other groups. This was followed by a brief march around the city centre.
This turnout came despite the council and police requesting “local people not to take part in any counter demonstrations” and deploying community mediators to “be instrumental in deterring young people from travelling into the city centre”.
The march didn’t go near Albert Square, where police had prepared a second kettle for those opposed to the EDL. Some marchers were surprised and frustrated with the route, particularly as they didn’t feel the reasons for it had been explained.
A couple of hundred people also gathered spontaneously in and around the anti-EDL kettle, separated by barriers and lines of police. At one point half a dozen EDL supporters tried approaching this side. They were hurriedly escorted away by police, chased by much of the crowd chanting “Whose streets? Our streets!”
Pictures and report by Manchester rs21.