Around 1,500 people took to the streets of Norwich today in opposition to the English Defence League.

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We Are Norwich, a coalition of trade unions, community and political groups, marched to City Hall with placards bearing messages of tolerance and equality in protest at the EDL’s first ever organised demonstration in the city.

After speeches in Chapelfield Gardens, We Are Norwich supporters walked along Theatre Street, preceded by an escort of police in vans and on foot, with officers by the roadside filming the crowds for any signs of early violence or trouble.

For a full gallery of pictures from today’s We Are Norwich march, click on the link at the top right of this story.

At its peak, around 1,500 protesters – including many families with young children – were massed outside City Hall, with hundreds of Saturday-lunchtime shoppers stopping to take in the sea of placards and banners.

Among the messages on show were placards reading “Norwich says NO to EDL”, “We Are Norwich: Together fighting racism and fascism” and one, held by a young boy, saying simply: “Be kind”.

The EDL had been expected to arrive at 1pm, but scuffles with police delayed their arrival for 45 minutes as they were held in Castle Meadow.

When the far-right demonstrators finally arrived, they were greeted with a chorus of boos and whistles from We Are Norwich.

Cries of “Whose city? Our city! Whose streets? Our streets!” rang out as both sides goaded each other through the police cordons.

12 comments

  • rememberance day tomorrow and it is worth remembering that people fought and gave their lives to protect our free speech and democracy in this country . And here we have a labour council denying people their basic human right

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • I am against the EDL totally, no one can dictate who lives where, that is proved by 6 million Brits living abroad..

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    Footyboy16

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • Whoever you support you can rely on balanced unbiased reporting from the eastern evening news. Congratulations to the police on doing a fine job, do you think one of them could wander down our street to do some crime prevention,no I thought not!

    Report this comment

    Harry Rabinowitz

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • What should have happened was that everyone should have lined the EDL march route. Then as they approach and in silence turn their backs to the marchers. Once they passed everyone turns back to face the route (not the marchers).

    Report this comment

    NchNthMan

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • As a casual observer, I was disgusted at what I witnessed, while the EDL were reasonably well mannered and merely marching to make a point the "We are Norwich" group, were in the most part nothing but a group of local agitators from various local groups intent on causing trouble. I think I now know where the real problem lies.

    Report this comment

    John L Norton

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • Given that there was apparently only one complaint about the leaflets, allegedly anti Islamic, and that the Police advised no crime had been committed in their distribution, was it really wise to ban them and cause all this fuss and expense? As always it is the Norfolk Police who have excelled. The EDL have been given free publicity and "freedom of speech" has taken another knock.

    Report this comment

    midupper

    Monday, November 12, 2012

  • Can we now see that amount of policing on the streets combatting anti social behaviour

    Report this comment

    scruffy

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • I moved away from Norfolk a decade ago. I have seen some of these protests up and down the country. Seeing so many people from my home city taking a stand against this vile, fascist organisation makes me proud of my Norfolk roots. There's no such thing in my mind as 'multiculturalism' - there's just one big collective 'us' of PEOPLE. In a modern world of free travel (you can be on the other side of the world in under 24 hours), it is absurd to even consider giving the EDL a voice. They are using immigration and 'Englishness' as an excuse to air their racist view on a public platform.

    Report this comment

    Dan

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • I moved away from Norfolk a decade ago. I have seen some of these protests up and down the country. Seeing so many people from my home city taking a stand against this vile, fascist organisation makes me proud of my Norfolk roots. There's no such thing in my mind as 'multiculturalism' - there's just one big collective 'us' of PEOPLE. In a modern world of free travel (you can be on the other side of the world in under 24 hours), it is absurd to even consider giving the EDL a voice. They are using immigration and 'Englishness' as an excuse to air their racist view on a public platform.

    Report this comment

    Dan

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • do people realise that the unions are funding groups like we are norwich with your union money . An interesting piece in the telegraph exposed the fact that john crudas labour MPhad used 165 thousand pounds of union money to fight the bnp in barking . Your union subscriptions is being used for political means. How can that be fair

    Report this comment

    milecross

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

  • the edl website states that the EDP poll shows the people of Norwich support their views because 70% thought they should be able to march. the low number of their supporters didn't back up their claim. it seems to have completely escaped them the people poled may have just thought it right to give them the opportunity to air their inappropriate views, rather than showing any support. however, the high number of anti-racists show where Norwich's colours lie - and it isn't on the side of hate

    Report this comment

    Tim Will

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

  • I am anti EDL . These idiots really do need to get a life, trying to dictate who live in this country... in their eyes you need to be white and born in this country, what a load of crap.. thats why there are over 6 million brits living abroad is it ?? if EDL wants only whites and people who are born in this country and ship everybody else out, then they better ship back in the 6 millions Brits who are abroad...

    Report this comment

    Footyboy16

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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