Call to ban extremist marches after man attacked

FUTURE marches by extremists should be banned following “appalling behaviour” at a rally at which a man was injured, according to a politician.

A counter-demonstrator needed 10 stitches after being attacked during an English Defence League demonstration in Hull at the weekend, during which three arrests were made.

The 45-year-old victim, who was holding a banner saying: “We are multicultur-Hull”, suffered concussion after being assaulted by a man, who broke through a police cordon. He was released from hospital after treatment.

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George McManus, Beverley and Holderness Labour Party’s parliamentary spokesman, who was standing nearby, said he would write to police commissioner Matthew Grove to call for a ban: “He made a grab for the banner and turned to me and said: ‘That’s illegal’ and threw a punch. I ducked and then he connected with my friend.

“The police did a great job overall but failed to protect the public in this instance.

“Police now have a body of evidence, including the racist abuse they were shouting all the way up Spring Bank.

“Their appalling behaviour has given us the evidence we need to ban further marches.”

The EDL had been refused permission to march all the way up Spring Bank and Princes Avenue, where many of the city’s refugees and asylum-seekers live. It is understood police also advised anti-fascist demonstrators to stay at Pearson Park half a mile away to avoid a confrontation and that had been “ignored”.

A police spokeswoman said they were able to impose conditions on marchers – as they had this time – but an outright ban was unlikely: “There were nearly 200 people and three people during it got locked up, with the rest, arguably, peacefully protesting. We had evidence gatherers out and if there’s any offences we identify in hindsight, we will pursue them.

“If there is peaceful protest it is our responsibility to police those protests.”

Arrests included a 46-year-old man from Dronfield in Derbyshire, for alleged assault; a 43-year-old man from Hemsworth, West Yorkshire, for allegedly being drunk and disorderly in Queen Victoria Square, and a 46-year-old man from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire for alleged assault in Queen Victoria Square.