Birmingham & Black Country

Dudley protests: Man charged with assaulting officer

Up to 1,000 EDL members marched through Dudley in the West Midlands in protest over plans for a new mosque
Image caption Up to 1,000 EDL members marched through the town centre

A man has been charged with assaulting a police officer after rival protests involving hundreds of people in Dudley.

Up to 1,000 English Defence League (EDL) supporters marched through the town centre on Saturday against plans for a new mosque. A counter-protest was staged by Unite Against Fascism (UAF).

Twenty-nine people were arrested, mostly to prevent a breach of the peace, West Midlands Police said.

The charged man is due to appear in court later this month.

'We listened'

Two fixed penalty notices were issued for obstructing police and public order offences, and another man is still in custody for charges relating to another police force. Another 25 people have been released without charge.

Speaking afterwards, Ch Supt Chris Johnson said that from a policing perspective, everything went as well as he could have hoped.

"We set out with a real, clear, mandate to talk to our communities, to talk to the businesses, engage with local people and we listened to them," he said.

"That helped to shape today's policing operation in a way that I think we've not done before, and that for me has been one of the real successes of today."

EDL supporters started gathering in the town from 10:00 GMT before marching through to the council house where speeches were held in the afternoon.

Police put up large steel fences in the town during the afternoon to keep the separate protests apart. Some shops were boarded up for the day, while others closed at lunchtime.

Image caption Steel fencing was put up across a town street to keep opposing factions away from each other

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