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Five arrests made at “Gays Against Sharia” protest in Bristol

Five people were arrested over the weekend at a demonstration and counter protest in Bristol.

Five arrests made at "Gays Against Sharia" protest in Bristol

Two groups, British and Immigrants United Against Terrorism and Gays Against Sharia demonstrated in Bristol yesterday about “issues of female genital mutilation, homophobia within Islam and Sharia Law”.

They were met with a counter protest by members of the LGBT community and Stand Up To Racism.

The Bristol Post reports around 65 people listened to speeches from UKIP candidate Anne-Marie Waters, former EDL member Tommy English.

There were five arrests, four for assaulting a police officer and one for one for obstructing the police in their duties.

Huge police presence

Protesters and demonstrations were met with 250 officers from the Avon and Somerset police force, neighbourhood officers, specialist public order-trained officers, mounted colleagues and dog handlers.

Chief Inspector Andy Williams said, “Overall the operation went well with the vast majority of those involved behaving and following our request for peaceful demonstrations.

“Unfortunately there were a small number of counter protestors who deviated from their pre-agreed route and who became disruptive.

“This led to a small amount of anti-social behaviour in the Old Market area which caused some congestion on surrounding roads while officers dealt with the situation.

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“We’d particularly like to thank those motorists who were affected by this and apologise to them for any inconvenience.

“A total of five arrests were made during the day, four for assaulting police officers and one for obstructing them in their duties.

“Violence and disorder will not be tolerated and we, as the public would expect, have been robust in tackling with those who have engaged in this behaviour.”

The right to protest

The police force took to social media to announce the number of arrests – but also to assert the rights of citizens to protest peacefully.

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Police stepped in after a number of protesters deviated from the route that was agreed in advance of the day. One person was arrested for obstruction.

Amjid Ali, chair of the Bristol Independent Advisory Group, said:

“The way in which the local neighbourhood policing team have conducted this operation has been a great example of partnership working.

“It is much appreciated by all the diverse communities of Bristol. Well done to all those involved in keeping everyone safe.”

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