Four people were arrested at an anti-Muslim demonstration amid a strong police presence in Wrexham. Around 40 members of a group calling themselves the Welsh Defence League (WDL) shouted racial abuse and gestured towards locals, saying they were protesting against plans for a new mosque.
Four people were arrested for public order offences, and North Wales’s Temporary Deputy Chief Constable, Ian Shannon said the day passed without “significant incident”. Meanwhile Unite Against Fascism held a counter-protest, near where the WDL gathered on Saturday.
And a Wrexham Communities Against Racism festival attracted around 200 people. Residents were joined by faith groups, the Wales TUC, Searchlight, Unison and members of Wrexham Council. Searchlight Cymru secretary Ian Titherington said none of the WDL protestors were Welsh, and they appeared to be members of the English Defence League (EDL).
He said: “This was the final humiliation for the EDL’s disastrous visits to Wales. The only way they could hold an event was to bus in 30 from Bolton, who on arrival went to the nearest pub, got drunk and bawled out racist chants. The EDL gathering did not exactly sell any local links, by displaying a Bolton Wanderers FC English flag and singing God Save the Queen.”
The WDL was formed in June 2009 as an off-shoot of the EDL, which claims to campaign against Islamic extremism. The group insists it is not fascist. But at a march in Swansea in October, onlookers were confronted by jeering men giving Nazi salutes, and one was arrested for a racially aggravated public order offence.