A PROTEST by far right-wing group Pegida UK in Solihull at the weekend passed off without major incident and just one person arrested.
Following a short parade around 200 members of the group, led by former English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson, staged a rally at Starley Way, in Birmingham International Business Park, on Saturday, February 6 against ‘mass immigration and the islamification of the west’.
A small group of counter demonstrators gathered at the station, with officers from West Midlands Police and British Transport Police working together to ensure rival factions were kept apart.
A 39-year-old man from east London was arrested by officers at the counter demo muster point outside the train station for a public order related matter.
Solihull Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Alex Murray, said WMP had been working alongside Solihull Council, partner agencies, protest organisers and community groups to prepare for the march – with their hard work ensuring the event passed off without any serious disorder.
He added: “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 protesters to walk from Birmingham International to the demo point but hopefully it didn’t hugely inconvenience motorists or local businesses.”
Thanking police for their efforts, West Midlands Police & Crime Commissioner David Jamieson, said: “Protests like this have a knock-on effect on the force’s ability to deliver non-emergency policing.
“I sincerely hope this is the last protest of its sort that we see here for a good long while.
“The West Midlands is a place where people live side by side happily…it is sad when people from outside the region try to undermine that.”