LONDON (AFP) – British police arrested more than 160 people on Saturday as they sought to separate far-right protesters and anti-fascist demonstrators gathered in an immigrant area of east London.
Scotland Yard had imposed conditions on a protest by the far-right English Defence League (EDL) to keep its members away from the centre of the Muslim community in Tower Hamlets.
Strict conditions were also imposed on a planned counter-demonstration by groups including Unite Against Fascism, to ensure the two sides did not meet.
EDL leader Tommy Robinson was arrested for breaching police conditions, while about 150 counter-demonstrators were also arrested for diverting from their agreed route, police said.
The EDL campaigns against what it says is the spread of radical Islam in Britain, but it has been accused of Islamophobia.
A handful of people were also arrested on Saturday for offences including carrying a knife, carrying fireworks, criminal damage and violent disorder.
"There have been 14 arrests as part of the policing operation for the demonstrations taking place in Tower Hamlets today," a police statement said.
It added: "In addition we have made approximately 150 arrests for breaching section 12 and section 14 of the Public Order Act 1986. All these approximately 150 people were protesting against the EDL presence."