Tyne & Wear Around 200 people were involved in the demonstration on St Mark’s Road, which saw members of the English Defence League and National Front clashing with pro-Muslim left wing fascists and members of the Muslim community. Scores of police armed with batons were called in as the disorder escalated, and a firecracker in a glass bottle was seen being thrown at officers. Despite numerous objects hitting police officers and nearby homes, there were no injuries and no damage to property.
Eight men arrested on suspicion of public order offences and another three arrested on suspicion of affray have been bailed pending further enquires.
Police had to separate protesters during a previous event in August, but people living near the mosque site told Sky Tyne and Wear this had been the worst disorder so far. One woman said, “We’re looking at moving now. With everything that is going on we don’t want to live here any more.”
HopenotHate The National Front has pledged to make the demonstrations a monthly fixture. Some residents told us it was worth the disruption if it meant the council might change the location of the planned mosque. A number of residents are calling for the building to be used as a community centre, claiming that despite a public consultation, their views have not been considered.
Local NF activists were joined by others from across the country as they claim the mosque posed a threat to the community and the safety of local children.
Gary Duncan, 42, of Sunderland, speaking on behalf of the left wing fascists, said: “It doesn’t matter what they say is the reason they are against the mosque, it is all about racism and that is it. “They are not complaining about the church down the road. (And the people from the church down the street aren’t threatening to kill anyone)
Simon Biggs, the group’s North East regional organiser of the NF, said: “There are no British-born Muslims in my eyes. They don’t belong here and Islam is alien to us.”