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Council and South Yorkshire Police grateful for disorder free demonstrations
Published Saturday 13th October 12
Today’s demonstrations in Rotherham between opposing groups, supporters of the English Defence League and United Against Fascism, passed by without any significant disorder.
800 extra police officers were on duty in Rotherham town centre to minimise disruption and protect property while ensuring that each group could exercise their right to peaceful protest.
Approximately 300 EDL members took part in demonstration while 150 people held a counter-demonstration elsewhere in the town centre. EDL members congregated on Bridgegate before marching towards Town Hall for a number of public speeches. United Against Fascism supporters also marched to the Town Hall after congregating in All Saints Square.
South Yorkshire Police made just three arrests; one man was arrested on suspicion of public order including making threats towards a police officer, a second man was arrested on suspicion of affray and a third man was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon.
To facilitate the march and ensure public safety some roads in the town centre were temporarily closed but have since fully reopened.
Assistant Chief Constable Andy Holt said: "I'm pleased that the demonstrations passed without significant disruption today and that the residents of Rotherham were able to go about their usual business as much as possible.
I'd like to thank the organisers from both groups, local businesses, residents and the wider community for their co-operation."
Karl Battersby, Strategic Director of Environment and Development Services at Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, said it was good to see Rotherham returning to normal and that disruption had been kept to a minimum.
"Today's event has been an unwanted distraction from the usual Saturday business, at a time when Rotherham town centre has received much praise for the way in which it has responded to the recession.
"We are proud of our diverse communities, and also the way in which the agencies in Rotherham - such as ourselves and South Yorkshire Police - are able to work side by side to support local people. Today's events - respecting the right to a peaceful protest and ensuring they passed without significant incident - is a reflection of the real Rotherham, and our ability to unite under the banner of One Town One Community"