Many of you would by now have seen or read the BBC reports of an anti-Islamic demonstration outside a mosque in north-west London where ten people were arrested.
At least 1,000 people were said to have gathered outside Harrow Central Mosque where activists from Stop Islamification of Europe planned to demonstrate jyst before evening prayers.
Unite Against Fascism were also at the scene to “defend the mosque”, they said.
Bricks, bottles and firecrackers were thrown at police officers who were in riot gear at the scene.
Earlier, hundreds of youths, some covering their faces with scarves, were in the area and there were skirmishes with police as some demonstrators broke a police cordon.
Supt Julia Pendry said police had to “intervene” to stop things from “escalating”.
She said: “Officers came under attack from bricks and bottles and we had to deploy our staff in protective equipment a number of times.
“Police had to take fast-time action to stop events from getting even worse this afternoon, by intervening to prevent an imminent breach of the peace.
“What played out on the streets of Harrow today is completely unacceptable to everyone,” she added.
Stop Islamification of Europe (SIOE) said they planned a “peaceful protest” against the building of a five-storey mosque next to the Harrow Central Mosque.
But in a message on their website SIOE said the protest had been called off and organiser Stephen Gash had been arrested.
The posting read:
“If you are on your way to the demo, don’t go, it’s being called off right now.
“The police can’t handle the Muslim counter-demonstrators. The senior sergeant said that he doesn’t want any of his policemen killed.”
Nine people remain in custody after being arrested for possession of offensive weapons including a hammer, a chisel and bottles of bleach.
Another person was arrested at the scene to prevent a breach of the peace, but he was released soon after, police said.
Police also stopped a number of people, who they believed were heading for the anti-Islamist protest, from getting to the protest area.
“If the SIOE demonstration started it would have resulted in serious disorder,” a statement from police said.
Councillor David Ashton, leader of Harrow Council, said: “We are saddened and dismayed that groups from outside the borough have come here and caused unrest.
“Harrow has an excellent record in community relations and we condemn those who came to our borough from elsewhere to either foist extreme political opinions on us or use religion as a cover for causing trouble.”
To put things into perspective, the UK is a tolerant multi-cultural society and incidents like this are rare.
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