South East Wales

Three arrests as rival protests end in Cardiff

Cardiff protestors
Image caption The anti-fascist protesters marched from Cardiff Bay to City Hall

Two men and a woman have been arrested in rival demonstrations held in Cardiff.

About 500 anti-fascist protesters marched from Cardiff Bay to City Hall in opposition to a demonstration by the Welsh Defence League (WDL).

WDL organisers said their estimated 200-strong demonstration was against Islamic extremism.

South Wales Police said there were some flashpoints, but their operation, was a success.

Two men, aged 48 and 53, and a 45-year-old woman were arrested.

Police faced operational challenges with two major sporting events, a rock gig and a taxi strike also in Cardiff on Saturday.

The bill for policing the protests has been put at £250,000.

Image caption The Welsh Defence League demonstrated close to City Hall

Similar demonstrations were also held in Swansea.

Assistant Chief Constable Nick Croft said: "The demonstrations have passed without significant disruption to the wider community and without injury to the protesters and I would like to express my thanks to the vast majority of people who demonstrated peacefully.

"There were some flashpoints throughout the day which may have concerned some onlookers, but to an extent, this was anticipated between two large groups who hold opposing views.

"The main thing is that nobody got injured as a result, and that the vast majority of protesters went about their activities in a responsible and orderly manner, meaning that only three arrests had to be made."

ACC Croft added: "In policing terms the day has been successful for South Wales Police."

Rock group

Officers kept the two sets of protesters apart, using roads between the city's crown court and the national museum as a buffer.

However, some United Against Fascism protesters broke through a police corden to confront the WDL.

Hundreds of taxi drivers in the city, many of them Muslim, were expected to strike in protest against the Welsh Defence League being allowed to hold what they call a racist rally.

At the Swalec Stadium Glamorgan's cricketers hosted a West Indies 'A' team and at the Millennium Stadium Wales lost 31-34 to South Africa in a one-off summer test match.

Thousands are expected to attend a concert by rock group Stereophonics at the Cardiff City stadium later.

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