Tyne & Wear

Newcastle protest marches end without major incident

Police say marches by members of the English Defence League (EDL) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) in Newcastle passed without major incident.

About 1,000 members of each group marched through different parts of the city centre, converging just 100 metres from each other.

Hundreds of police officers, from at least five forces including the Metropolitan Police, were drafted in.

Northumbria Police said just a few scuffles had broken out.

There were no reports of injuries or arrests and a force spokesman said it had sufficient resources in place.

Parts of the city centre were closed to traffic to allow the pre-arranged demonstrations and rallies.

Some business along the march routes opted to close.

'Peaceful protest'

Parts of the Bigg Market, Newgate Street, Clayton Street and Westgate Road were closed from mid-morning, but reopened later.

A force spokesman said: "I would like to thank the local community for their help and tolerance during the events and the lead-up to them.

"All our officers and staff should also be commended for their efforts, as well as those who have worked alongside us from other forces and organisations.

"Newcastle is a city for peace and the aim of today was to allow peaceful protest which we have demonstrated is possible through careful planning and successful communication at all levels.

"Although today's marches and demonstrations have passed peacefully, we are still prepared for a busy bank holiday weekend and have the resources in place to deal with this."

Other events in Newcastle city centre on Saturday included a TUC rally and the annual march by the Apprentice Boys of Derry.

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