Leicester

Thousands unite in Leicester after EDL protest

Thousands of people showed their opposition to an English Defence League (EDL) protest in Leicester by holding a festival of peace in the city.

On Saturday about 1,000 EDL supporters held a rally while Unite Against Fascism (UAF) staged a rival protest.

Groups from across the city came together on Sunday to hold the We Are One Leicester Peace Festival along Humberstone Gate.

Events included a performance from musician Billy Bragg.

'Great city'

Mr Bragg said he thought it was important for residents of the city to stand up for what they believed in.

"I'm here because I am a patriot. I have come to Leicester because I care about this great, multicultural city and I am proud to be English.

"I wanted to come here and say it is not acceptable for anyone to use the symbols of my country to intimidate everyone else.

"Each generation has had to confront the racists and the fascists, my parents' generation in the war, my generation in Rock Against Racism and the new generation today with the EDL."

'Unity and tolerance'

Sheila Lock, Chief executive of Leicester City Council, said she was proud of how the city had united.

"I said to people in the days preceding this that Leicester would come out stronger and would learn lessons about working together.

"You just had to look at people's faces at the events [on Sunday] and people were saying, 'This is what our city's about, this is what sums us up'.

"The strength of unity and cohesion and tolerance, people wanting to live together, that's what society's about."

During and after Saturday's EDL and UAF protests, 17 people were arrested. Ten of them were charged with a range of offences including assaulting a police officer, possession of an offensive weapon and public order offences.

Fifteen people were released on bail, one was remanded into custody and another was given a conditional discharge.

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