Birmingham & Black Country

EDL supporters march through Walsall

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Media captionPolice said the event was largely peaceful and most traders remained open in the town centre

About 160 English Defence League supporters have marched through Walsall.

Local members of the far-right group said they were protesting against radical elements of Islam and recent child grooming cases.

A similar event in 2012 led to violence and more than 30 arrests, although West Midlands Police said Saturday's rally had been largely peaceful.

A counter-demonstration was held outside St Paul's Church.

In all, West Midlands Police said seven people were arrested for low-level public order offences and another two after a car was damaged.

Image caption Walsall Council said it had spent £20,000 boarding up properties as a precaution

EDL members marched from the Oak Inn pub to the town's art gallery, where they remained until about 14:30 BST.

Walsall Council said it had spent £20,000 boarding up the front of the art gallery and nearby buildings as a precaution.

Ch Insp Martin Hurcomb said disruption had been "kept to a minimum" and the town centre was largely "open for business as usual".

The We Are Walsall group said its counter demonstration, featuring live music, was designed to celebrate the town's "diverse community".

"We have a strong tradition of mutual respect and get along fine," the group said.

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