Violence at anti-mosque protest

Violent clashes broke out on Saturday between riot police and right-wing protesters

About 2,000 members of the English Defence League (EDL) descended on Dudley town centre in the West Midlands to demonstrate against plans for a new mosque.

Some of the protesters broke out of a pen in a car park, breaking down metal fences and throwing the metal brackets at officers, who were armed with riot shields and batons.

Members of the demonstration started fighting their own stewards who were trying to calm them down as they attacked the fences penning them in.

The EDL had put signs up which read "Labour forcing mosques on Britain" and "No one wants this mosque".

Some demonstrators held placards reading "Muslim bombers off our streets" and "Say no to the mosque". The national anthem was played on a speaker system while demonstrators waved the flag of St George.

Dudley Council said in a statement on its website: "We didn't invite the EDL to our town and we don't want them here."

But the council said it did not have the power to ban the event. It said: "The council has worked closely with the police to do all it can to protect and support local people, traders, businesses and the town centre. The EDL is proposing a static protest (rather than a march) and there is no legal requirement for an organiser of such a protest to notify the police or the council of their definite plans."

The mosque is planned for Hall Street with details on the design and positioning of the building due for submission by July 2011. In July last year the council lost a high court challenge to prevent the planning application being given the go ahead.

The EDL protesters managed to break out of the car park by pulling down fences and barging their way past riot police officers. About half the group then ran off through the town. Lines of riot police officers fought running battles with protesters as they tried to contain the mob who pulled down barriers blocking off roads.

Dear Ed,

Ali from London typifies what I think of the muslim point of view - it is sexist to think that a woman needs to protect herself from the view of a man. It is natural for men to ogle women much as your text column indicates. The fact that Ali thinks muslim women should cover their faces shows how psychologically ill-informed Islam is about the human condition and how patriarchal and domineering its men are. Just because Western women are liberated and free to do what they wish - he says they have no shame. Besides,those that wear the burka are often the most unattractive females one could imagine.





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