by Adam Drummond
THE Scottish Defence League’s march and rally in Berwick passed off relatively peacefully on Saturday.
A large and highly visible police presence in the town centre and also along with the marchers ensured the event went ahead with little disruption.
A Northumbria Police spokesperson said there were no problems before, during or after the march.
Around 75 people from the far right group took part in the event, but no arrests were made and no problems were reported.
Chief Superintendent Steve Neill said: “I am pleased this protest passed without incident and peacefully.
“The police were there to ensure the safety of everyone involved and there were no offences reported. Disruption was kept to a minimum and Northumbria Police is grateful for the support it received from local communities.”
Crowds gathered around the corner of Marygate and Walkergate, where the march turned towards The Parade to hold their rally, and some comments were passed between the marchers and a group of protesters further down Marygate.
Philip Thompson, secretary of Berwick Trades Union Council, who staged the protest against the SDL march.
Mr Thompson said afterwards: “The people of Berwick delivered a firm ‘no’ to the SDL fascists who marched in the town on Saturday.
“Berwick Trades Union Council with Unite Against Fascism assembled at the Town Hall mid morning and handed out hundreds of anti-fascist leaflets. Local people and tourists voiced their concern and disgust at fascists attempting to stir up hate and division in Berwick, where community relations are good.”
The SDL marchers, boosted by a number of members of the English Defence League, had met in the town prior to the march before heading to the railway station to start the march down through the town ahead of their short rally in The Parade.
Mr Thompson said police had indicated that there were few, if any, locals amongst the marchers.
“However there is no room for complacency,” he added. “At a time of recession, with real falls in wages and jobs under threat, fascism and racist scapegoating will continue to pose a threat.”