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Rotherham: EDL rally over abuse descends into battle against National Front

Arrests made as racist exploitation of tragic scandal backfires

A racist rally designed to exploit Rotherham’s child sex abuse scandal collapsed into chaos on Saturday as the drunk yobs fought each other. 

Police arrested 12 men and women as the English Defence League (EDL) descended on the town in a bid to divide the community. 

Two men and a woman were detained on suspicion of causing racially and religiously aggravated fear alarm and distress.

Cops cuffed six as the EDL street gang went to war with the fascist National Front and other far-right factions. 

And three more men were nicked en route to Rotherham when officers discovered an offensive weapon in their car. 

Hope Not Hate campaigner Matthew Collins said the violence wrecked the EDL’s plans to create a race split in Rotherham.

Mr Collins said there was “a lot of anger in the town” after an independent inquiry found a local gang abused at least 1,400 children between 1997 and 2003. 

He said: “I think there would have been some people in Rotherham who saw it (the march) as an opportunity to complain about what’s happened.”

But he told the Morning Star that Saturday’s spectacle would have shattered all illusions of the EDL’s mission for local people. 

“All they saw was a load of people getting pissed, shouting racist abuse and fighting with each other,” he said. 

“Deep down, I think it’s a good thing they had this day because we got to see what a bunch of drunks they are.

“It was an absolute waste of time for them.”

Around 1,000 EDL members assembled at Rotherham town hall before marching through the town — confronting other racists along the way. 

Hope Not Hate photographers captured the carnage as EDL and National Front thugs clashed three times.

Mr Collins said it created a “horrible atmosphere” in the town. 

And a massive police deployment of 1,500 officers — more than one for every EDL member on the march — was required to contain the punch up. 

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) said the violence showed “cynical disregard” for the 1,400 children who suffered sexual abuse. 

The group organised a successful counter demonstration in the town along with local trade unionists and will oppose another EDL attempt to exploit the abuse scandal with a demonstation in London this saturday.

A UAF spokesman said: “The EDL have seized on the appalling child abuse cases to engender racism against Muslims.”

Photos posted on Twitter on Saturday appeared to show that a mosque was vandalised after the EDL march.


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