Bishop charged by alleged EDL member during peace speach

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A MAN believed to be an English Defence League (EDL) supporter charged at Bishop of Pontefract Tony Robinson as he made a speech at a peace rally in Wakefield city centre.

The man grabbed the microphone Bishop Robinson was using to address a crowd of up to 400 members of anti-EDL group We are Wakefield on Westgate on Saturday afternoon.

He was removed by members of the crowd and the Bishop continued his speech.

Police said eleven men were arrested on the afternoon the EDL staged a demonstration on nearby Brook Street in the city at the same time as the multicultural We are Wakefield event.

We are Wakefield spokesman Andy Brammer, said: “The Bishop of Pontefract was speaking and an EDL man charged through, barged the bishop off the microphone and started making a speech. The crowd got hold of him and removed him. People were understandably annoyed, but the bishop was stoic. He shrugged it off and carried on.”

Police said none of the 11 arrests were made at either protest site. Assistant Chief Constable Mark Milsom said arrests were made for minor public order offences and to prevent a breach of the peace.

He added: “The demonstration and counter demonstration passed off peacefully.

“The arrests we made were focussed on preventing persons provoking trouble. Our swift action ensured that the genuine protestors and the Christmas shoppers were kept safe and feeling safer.

“This was an operation led by Wakefield officers patrolling within their own communities and they reported good feedback from the residents who they spoke to.

“I want to thank residents in the city for their calm and considered response and for working with us to help the demonstrations pass off peacefully.”

PIC: Simon Hulme

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