London

Soldiers heckled during homecoming parade in Barking

Soldiers returning from Afghanistan have been heckled during a homecoming parade in east London.

A group of protesters gathered in Barking town centre as members of the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment marched through the streets.

The demonstrators also waved placards opposing the war.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said two people had been arrested for public order offences.

One witness said: "There were about 25 to 50 Muslim protesters carrying placards with things like 'Muslims Against Crusades' and 'British Soldiers Go To Hell'.

"Then there was a counter-protest of about 100 guys barracking them."

Barking and Dagenham councillor Liam Smith said the march was unaffected by the protest.

He said: "I'm glad the actions of a vocal minority failed to spoil what was a proud day in the borough's history and one we will remember for all the right reasons in years to come.

"The Royal Anglians are our local regiment. We are proud of them and the difficult and dangerous job they do, and as today's turnout for the parade showed, so are the people of Barking and Dagenham."

Muslim anti-war protesters attempted to disrupt another parade in March last year when soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment, known as The Poachers, paraded in Luton town centre.

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