Far-right protesters to be billed for Burnley march

Far right protest march takes place in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons
Far right protest march takes place in Burnley.'Photo Ben Parsons

A march in Burnley town centre involving protesters from a far-right group passed off peacefully at the weekend.

More than 200 people took part in the North West Frontline Firm march which set off from the Inn on the Wharf pub in Manchester Road and finished with a 40-minute demonstration in the Peace Garden in Croft Street.

There was a heavy police presence with mounted police and the force helicopter deployed.

No arrests were made during the protest, which the group said was against “mass immigration and Islamification.”

Around 20 anti-fascist protesters gathered in opposition outside Burnley Crown Court.

The protest took place on the same day Building Bridges held a celebration in Curzon Street to mark the success of community cohesion in Burnley.

Faith leaders and council bosses blamed people from out of town for “trying to stir up trouble” and hit out at the cost to taxpayers.

Commander of Burnley police Chief Supt Chris Bithell said: “The demonstrations passed off peacefully and without incident and I would like to thank the local community for their help and tolerance during the events and the lead up to them. All our officers and staff should also be commended for their efforts, as well as those who have worked alongside us from other organisations, in particular Burnley Borough Council and community volunteers.”

Police and the council also thanked staff at the Inn on the Wharf who stepped in to help officers by providing a meeting place for protesters.

Burnley Borough Council’s deputy leader Mark Townsend said: “I’m pleased that shoppers and traders were able to go about their normal business in Burnley today.

“The protest organisers were not from Burnley, and the protest was not about specific local issues. If they wanted to provoke a reaction or trouble, they have failed.

“Burnley people have shown that they were not interested in any attempt to stir division and trouble.

“I am irritated by the extra costs and time involved in policing a protest that is not about local issues and which hasn’t been organised locally. Taxpayers’ money and police officers’ hours could have been put to much better use.

“We will now be sending the organisers a bill for some of the costs we incurred.”

Canon Peter Hapgood Strickland, from Building Bridges, said: “It put a lot of people off coming into the town centre.”