Anti-racism protesters march through Batley against rally supporting far-right For Britain candidate
Anti-racism protesters march through Batley against rally supporting far-right For Britain candidate in by-election
- Stand Up To Racism groups in Kirlees, Leeds and Wakefield held a demonstration against a far-right rally
- Came amid rumours a far-right rally was to be held for the For Britain founder Anne Marie Walters today
- By-election will be help on July 1 to find a new MP for the Batley and Spen constituency after resignation
- Waters is one of 16 candidates standing alongside murdered MP Jo Cox’ sister Kim Leadbeater
Hundreds of anti-racism protesters have marched through Batley as a rally was held to support a far-right For Britain candidate the the by-election.
Stand Up To Racism groups in Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield held the counter-demonstration to fight against growing support for the far-right For Britain founder Anne Marie Waters.
It came amid reports former leader of the English Defence League Tommy Robinson would be at a rally in the West Yorkshire town.
Waters is one of 16 candidates hoping to become the new BP of Batley and Spen in the by-election on July 1.
The by-election will be held following the resignation of Tracy Brabin, who was elected Mayor of West Yorkshire.
Some 100 police officers were at the protest as surrounding forces were drafted in to ensure the rallies were peaceful.
A total of three arrests were made – two for public order offences and a man was also arrested for possession of an offensive weapon.
Officers were forced to stand between the two groups as a stand-off happened in front of Jo Cox House, the building named in memory of the murdered former Batley MP
A man was arrested by a group of police officers during the clash between a far-right rally and anti-racism demonstrators
This man appeared to laugh as he made it difficult for police officers to get his arms behind his back for handcuffs
A man is escorted into a police vehicle after he was arrested during a demonstration in Batley on Saturday
Police officers lined the main square as forces from outside the area were drafted in to help on Saturday
This demonstrator laughed as she held up a sign that read: ‘smash fascism and racism’ during the protest
Officers also assisted with two people who were believed to have suffered medical episodes.
Police vans were parked along Commercial Street and officers lined the centre of the town as the Stand Up To Racism march was met with hostility.
Demonstrators shouted ‘scum’ and ‘traitors’, as marchers retorted by calling the far-right rally ‘Nazi scum’.
Officers were forced to stand between the two groups as a stand-off happened in front of Jo Cox House, the building named in memory of the murdered former Batley MP.
The Stand Up To Racism Kirklees speaker who organised the rally said: ‘I think today has been a massive victory for the anti-racist movement. Have a safe journey home everyone.’
It comes a day after Jo Cox’ sister, Labour candidate Kim Leadbeater, was shouted at in the street by an anti-LGBT and anti-Israel campaigner from Birmingham.
A man with England tattoed on his neck appeared to whistle as he joined the far-right rally in Batley today
Mounted police officers were on the scene in Batley today in case violence broke out at the counter-rallies
At the anti-racism rally protesters held up signs that read: ‘Oppose Tommy Robinson. Don’t let the racists divide us’
Assistant Chief Constable Scott Bisset, who led the policing operation, said: ‘I would like to pass on my gratitude to the local residents and visitors of Batley, partner agencies as well as all officers and staff, for their conduct and co-operation during the demonstration this afternoon, which only caused minor disruption for a short time in the town centre.
‘We ensured we had appropriate resources including assistance from additional high visibility police officers, to minimise the disruption caused as much as possible.’
‘Our overall aim was to ensure that the demonstrations remained peaceful and was effectively managed, so that the wider public were able to go about their business unaffected.’