Views on EDL protest in Leicester

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A demonstration which claims to defend "Englishness", but faces charges of racism, in one of the UK's most ethnically diverse cities was always going to provoke a reaction.

The English Defence League (EDL) protest in Leicester prompted the largest police operation in the city for 25 years and a counter demonstration by anti-fascists.

But what did the residents think?

Mark James, 40, a property developer, was watching the EDL demonstration. Being black, he said, gave him his own perspective on the event.

"The EDL invited me in to hear what they had to say and I was ready to go in, but the police said I couldn't, it was too dangerous, it could provoke trouble.

"You hear and see terrible things about Islamic extremism, so you can see why people would not want that.

"And the neighbourhood I live in here in Leicester is mostly Muslim and every community has its own racism - you don't always hear about that."

Also watching was Cindy McCammon, 19, a student from Burton-on-Trent. Her friends had come "to see what was happening" but she said she had some respect for the EDL.

"You have to stand up for what you believe in," she said. "They have a point but they go about it the wrong way.

"If I see someone walking down the street with a St George's Flag on their shoulders, I feel proud.

"We shouldn't be afraid to stand up to things which are wrong, even if they are done by people from an ethnic group."

But a set of experienced eyes viewed the banners with suspicion.

Maria Ronner grew up in Germany in the 1930s.

"I heard about this demonstration last night and did not like what I heard, but I was very curious to see what it was really about," she said.

"I have a great interest in the multicultural society. A great interest. It is important to see how people can understand each other, can learn."