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Demonstrators clash outside UK Border Agency

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DEMONSTRATORS clashed in central Croydon today as the English Volunteer Force (EVF) held its planned rally. The roughly 40 English Volunteer Force demonstrators were outnumbered at least three-to-one by counter demonstrators. Angry chants were traded between the groups rallying in opposing pens outside the UK Border Agency offices in Wellesley Road, including chants of "scum" and "Nazi scum". There were occasional scuffles as the demonstrators passed each other, but the rallies, kept well apart by police, passed off without major incident. Two anti-fascist demonstrators were pinned to the ground by police as their group by Sydenham Road tried to surge past a police line. Superintendent Simon Causer, Public Order Commander with the Met, said: "I am absolutely satisfied with the way the day went. "I am pleased with the restraint showed by both sides." The group of EVF supporters spent around 45 minutes outside Lunar House after meeting at East Croydon station and rallying briefly outside the Whitgift Centre car park in Wellesley Road. Around 120 trades unionists formed the bulk of the counter demonstration, arriving at Lunar House from 11am. John Morgan, of the Croydon branch of the Public and Commercial Services Union, which represents staff in Lunar House, said: "We made our point very strongly but in a peaceful way. "The EVF is not welcome in Croydon and people turned out in large numbers to show them that." At the end of the rallies, EVF supporters were escorted by police to East Croydon station. Most of the counter-demonstrators were kept by police in Sydenham Road until the EVF had moved off. The EVF supporters boarded the 13.34 train from East Croydon towards London, accompanied by police. They were understood to be heading to London Bridge to get to another planned demonstration in Woolwich. Supt Causer added: "This was a challenging situation and I understand the differences of opinion. "Our role is to allow them the right to put their opinions, but we also had to have consideration for the community of Croydon and make sure the demonstration did not impinge on people going about their business. "If you were not outside Lunar House today, I do not think you would have known anything was taking place."

Demonstrators clash outside UK Border Agency


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