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EDL members don burqas whilst 1,000+ counter demonstrate in Exeter

21st November 2013
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The English Defence League (EDL) marched through Exeter this Saturday (16th November), on the same day as a counter-march organised by Exeter Together reportedly attracted in excess of 1,000 attendees. 

Between 225 and 300 people took to the streets of Exeter in support of the far-right group’s national demonstration, with the heavily policed protest travelling towards a rally at Northernhay Gardens.

The Exeter Together rally started at 10:30a.m., and included live music and speeches.

Two EDL protesters were controversially seen wearing burqas before and during the afternoon’s demonstration. As the EDL demonstrators prepared to leave their meeting point at a pub in a city centre at around 1.15pm, the two individuals were seen to pretend to pray in the middle of the road while wearing the traditional Islamic dress.

Other nearby demo attendees carried a large sign stating, “BAN THE BURKA”.  Despite the EDL reporting earlier in the day that a local Muslim woman would be joining them on the march, no such person was sighted by Exeposé reporters.

The protest was generally peaceful, although there were a few flashpoints along the route, as anti-EDL bystanders shouting at the protest were met with EDL demonstrators trying to breach the police line. Exeposé News reporters observed scuffles which required police intervention, particularly as the march culminated with the entrance into Northernhay Gardens. At least one anti-EDL protester was pulled away by police as he tried to intercept the march.

According to Express and Echo, a 30 year old man was taken to custody after being found in possession of an offensive weapon and two others were separately arrested on alcohol related offences. It is also reported that 400 police officers were on the streets in Exeter, including a mounted police unit.

Reporters were later removed from the site of the Northernhay Gardens rally to alleviate perceived “tension” amongst the EDL ranks. Exeposé’s photographer was pushed and verbally abused by EDL demonstrators who grew increasingly antagonistic as he took photos. The police intervened and the situation was diffused.

Devon and Cornwall Police reported via Twitter that the day had been “successful.”

City Council leader Pete Edwards, who was at the front of the Exeter Together march, said: “Today has been a great day for Exeter. Over 1,000 people have turned out to stand together against fascism and racism. It’s good stuff for Exeter and all its citizens.”

This article originally appeared on Exeposé.

Image credit: Niklas Rahmel




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