Race charges follow English Defence League Stoke rally

Three people have been charged with racially or religiously aggravated disorder offences after an English Defence League (EDL) rally.

About 1,500 EDL supporters protested against Islamic extremism in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, on Saturday. Unite Against Fascism held a counter rally.

Six officers were hurt and five police vehicles were damaged when an EDL group broke through a police cordon.

Seventeen EDL protesters were arrested on Saturday and four remain in custody.

Those charged are two men from Stockport, Cheshire, aged 22 and 24, and a boy aged 17 from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.

Police shield

The 17-year-old has been bailed to appear before a youth court on 8 February and the men from Cheshire have been bailed to appear before North Staffordshire magistrates in Fenton on 8 February.

Unite Against Fascism supporters in Hanley

Staffordshire Police said the 14 other people had been arrested for a variety of suspected offences including, public order, vehicle damage and theft of a police shield.

All have now been bailed or released without charge.

Up to 300 members from the group Unite Against Fascism gathered on the other side of Hanley centre.

Supt Dave Mellor of Staffordshire Police thanked people for their cooperation and said: “Despite some provocation everyone went about their business in a calm and common-sense way, and shortly after the demonstrations ended the city centre quickly returned to normal.”

The force said more than 600 officers had been deployed to ensure public safety.

One officer required hospital treatment for an arm injury, another was treated by doctors for a minor facial injury. Both were discharged after treatment.

Four other officers received minor injuries. A member of the public also suffered a minor injury during the rally.

see article at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/staffordshire/8477583.stm

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