9th Dec, 2016

Pegida protests pass without any incidents

Solihull Editorial 8th Apr, 2016 Updated: 24th Oct, 2016

A SECOND protest by far-right wing group Pegida UK in the borough over the weekend passed off without any incidents.

Officers attending the rally at Starley Way, in Birmingham International Business Park, on Saturday made zero arrests and reported no disorder or injuries.

Around 150 members of the group peacefully marched from nearby Birmingham International train station to the meeting point to protest against ‘mass immigration and the Islamification of the west’.

The group, which describes itself on its official Facebook page as ‘a non-racist, non-violent group’, is a branch of the far-right German campaign group and was set up by former English Defence League (EDL) leader, Tommy Robinson.

Speaking at the event, Mr Robinson bemoaned the group marching in ‘the middle of nowhere’ rather than in Bimingham city centre, before announcing Pegida UK’s next march would be in Rotherham.

Other speakers included anti-Sharia law campaigner and deputy leader of the group, Anne Marie Waters, and founder of the original, German branch of Pegida, Lutz Bachmann.

A small group of around 25 counter demonstrators gathered in central Birmingham’s Victoria Square.

West Midlands Police officers worked alongside colleagues from British Transport Police to ensure the rival factions were kept apart to minimise the risk of any confrontation.

Chief Inspector Jack Hadley, from Solihull local policing unit, said: “We’ve been planning the operation for months; the collective efforts of our officers, Solihull Council, partner agencies, protest organisers, local businesses and community groups helped ensure the event passed off without any serious disorder.

“We had a large police presence on the ground, including protest liaison officers, in order to deal effectively with any issues.

“But we were confident the rally would be peaceful; our negotiations with Pegida representatives were positive and they stressed their intentions to express their views lawfully.

“Disruption was kept to a minimum – Bickenhill Lane was closed temporarily to allow for protestors to walk from Birmingham International to the demo point, but hopefully it didn’t hugely inconvenience motorists or local businesses.”

Saturday’s protest was the second of its kids staged by Pegida UK after the group staged a similar rally in the borough on Saturday, February 6.