More suspects arrested after September EDL demo
26 March 2013
EIGHT people have been arrested this morning (Tuesday) as police investigating disorder at last year’s English Defence League (EDL) demonstration in Walsall swooped on homes across the region.
Officers made early morning calls at homes across Tipton, West Bromwich, Brownhills and Acocks Green today (Tuesday 26 March) as detectives identified another round of people suspected of bringing violence to the town’s streets during the September protest.
Protesters from the EDL and a counter demonstration group descended on Walsall town centre on Saturday 29 September 2012, with numbers attending the events reaching around 1000.
A large scale operation was carried out by West Midlands Police to ensure the safety of people visiting the town on the day, as well as policing those joining in the protests.
Detective Inspector Pete Dunn is leading the police investigation into the disorder that followed the afternoon protest. He said: “The majority of the people attending these demonstrations were law-abiding, however small numbers of people decided to get involved in a few ugly scenes when people began to try and break through police lines and were throwing missiles.
“Thirty people were arrested at the time, many of which have since been convicted of public order offences. Others are still going through the court process.
“Since September we have been working to identify others who were involved in the disorder and now we have been able to make further arrests, whilst appealing for information to identify other people we suspect were involved.
“As a result of this morning’s action, eight people aged between 17 to 58 have been arrested on suspicion of violent disorder and will all be questioned later today."
In addition to today’s arrest phase, West Midlands Police has released ten images of men detectives want to identify as part of the ongoing inquiry into the Walsall protest disorder.
DI Dunn added: “We urge anyone with information as to who these men are to contact us as soon as possible.
“The message to people intent on bringing violence to the streets of the West Midlands when attending such events is clear − we will not tolerate disorder or any form of anti social behaviour.
“The force takes a hard line against anyone who comes to the West Midlands and brings violence to our streets, whether it be in the name of an organisation or just for devilment.
“If you commit such crimes we will track you down and ultimately you will be brought before the courts."
Despite violence breaking out at the EDL demonstration, only a small number of protesters and police officers sustained minor cuts and bruises. No serious injuries were reported.
Chief Superintendent Dave Sturman, commander for Walsall and in charge of the operation on the day, said: “Generally, the day was considered to be successful in terms of the operation by police, our partner agencies and representatives of our communities.
“We recognise that the people of Walsall were both concerned and inconvenienced on the day and we hope that residents are reassured by our continuing efforts to bring those involved in disorder in the town to justice."
Of the 30 people arrested on the day of the protest, 27 were charged with public order offences, including violent disorder.
One man received a 25 week prison sentence for possession of an offensive weapon, at the counter demonstration on 29 September. A second man received a suspended sentence for assaulting a police officer.
A further 19 men will appear before Wolverhampton Crown Court on 9 April for a plea and case management hearing for violent disorder charges.
Others arrested on the day have received fines and suspended sentences.
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