Saturday, November 10, 2012
Around 1,500 people took to the streets of Norwich today in opposition to the English Defence League.
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.