Norwich EDL March Passes Peacefully

11 November 2012, 06:00 | Updated: 11 November 2012, 07:58

Police are hailing their operation over two protest marches in Norwich city centre on Saturday as a success.

Norwich Policing Commander Supt Paul Sanford said the English Defence League (EDL) and counter protest march by We Are Norwich had been ‘challenging’ but police had ‘met their objective’ of facilitating two lawful protests.

Around 400 police officers from eleven forces, including Norfolk and Suffolk, provided high profile policing for the event in the city.

The EDL and We Are Norwich protesters took part in demonstrations, marching to City Hall where assemblies were held with toth groups dispersing at around 3pm.

Supt Sanford said: “I am really pleased with the outcome of today’s policing operation. At times it was challenging for officers but we successfully met our objectives of allowing the two groups to protest, which was their legal right.

“The event was largely peaceful but we acted swiftly and robustly to any signs of disorder.

“I would like to thank those who supported the peaceful event to members of the public and local businesses for their time and patience during the marches.

“We received some fantastic comments from the public during the protest to thank the police for their support.”

Four people were arrested during the course of the event:

  • A 22 year old man from Norwich arrested at 12pm in Theatre Street on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon
  • A 44 year old man from Telford, Shropshire, arrested in Castle Meadow at 1.20pm on suspicion of assault
  • A 45 year old man from Bletchley, Milton Keynes, arrested on Gaol Hill at 3.12pm on suspicion of a public order offence
  • A 28 year old man from Norwich arrested at 3.15pm in Prince of Wales Road for a public order offence.

Police used Twitter and a free text service to ensure people were kept informed of key developments and to support business as usual for those not participating.

During a minor scuffle at Castle Meadow, one man suffered slight injuries and no other injuries were reported.

Councillor Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said: "We are delighted Norwich remained open for business and that the demonstrations passed off peacefully. It was great that so many people turned out to show the EDL that it is not welcome in our city.

"The police did and excellent job and our officers and contractors worked hard in advance of this event and will make sure the city is
clean in preparation for the Remembrance Sunday service at the war memorial."