Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham EDL 'anti-Muslim' rioters jailed

EDL demonstration Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Lines of police kept EDL and opposition groups apart

A disabled English Defence League supporter involved in clashes with police while on crutches at a protest rally has been jailed for 16 months.

Lee Joshua, 43, was jailed alongside fellow EDL supporters Jake Hill, James Harrington and Adam Beebee, who were involved in violence in Birmingham in July 2013.

About 200 people were involved in the disturbance with police in the Broad Street and Centenary Square areas.

About 30 officers were injured.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Lee Joshua (left) posted a picture of himself on the internet burning the Koran, and Jake Hill spat at and attacked police officers
Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Adam Beebee (left) said he wanted to 'have a ruck' with anti-EDL protestors and James Harrington tried to hit police with a length of wood

The four men, who admitted violent disorder, were told by a judge at Birmingham Crown Court that the rally had been "plainly racist and/or anti-Muslim".

Joshua had claimed to have "enjoyed every minute" of the disturbance, and later posted an image of himself on Facebook burning a copy of the Koran.

The court heard that a Muslim prayer cap and a Pakistani flag were set on fire in the street, while police were pelted with paving slabs and bottles.

Image caption More than 1,000 extra police officers were drafted in to deal with the protests

Joshua, from Highbridge Road, Netherton, near Dudley, told police he had drunk 10 cans of lager, and was said to have been at the "forefront of attempts to break through police lines".

Hill, 22, from Mill Street, Brierley Hill, West Midlands, had spat at police officers and been part of a crowd that attacked them, was sentenced to 22 months in jail.

Harrington, 30 from Swarcliffe Road, Leeds, was seen on CCTV trying to hit police with a length of wood and was sentenced to two years.

Beebee, 28, from Boundary Road, Erdington, Birmingham, admitted trying to pass through police lines to "have a ruck" with counter-protesters.

He was sentenced to 13 months' imprisonment.

A further 48 men are due to be sentenced during December at the same court for offences linked to the disorder.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Protesters climbed on to bus shelters and some threw missiles

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