Six charged over violence at EDL demonstration
27 March 2013
SIX men have been charged with violent disorder in connection with violence that flared at last year’s English Defence League (EDL) demonstration in Walsall.
Officers and detectives swooped on homes across Birmingham and the Black Country yesterday (Tuesday) waking people suspected of involvement in the disorder that broke out when the EDL staged a demonstration in Walsall town centre on Saturday 29 September 2012.
Eight people were arrested when officers made early morning calls on homes in Tipton, West Bromwich, Brownhills and Acocks Green.
Of those detained, six men were later charged with the offence of violent disorder and will appear at Walsall Magistrates Court on 19 April.
Two further men, aged 24 and 39 and from Sandwell, were released on police bail, pending further enquiries.
Following the operation, detectives released images of ten men also suspected of involvement in the violence on Leicester Street.
As a result of the appeal, a man has contacted police and is due to attend a local station later for questioning.
Detective Inspector Pete Dunn is leading the police investigation into the disorder that followed the 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.
“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 operation, a further six men will be passing through the courts in coming weeks to faces violent disorder charges.”
Chief Superintendent Dave Sturman, commander for Walsall and in charge of the operation on the day, added: “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.
“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.
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 a counter demonstration held in Walsall on the day. 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.