North East Wales

English Defence League march to Islamic centre site

The march through Shotton
Image caption Police said their strategy ensured the protest passed off without incident

More than a hundred English Defence League protesters have marched through a Flintshire town to the site of a proposed new Islamic cultural centre.

The site at the Shotton Lane Social Club was burnt down in a suspicious fire in February.

Flintshire Muslim Cultural Society was planning to turn the property into a multi-cultural centre.

Police said their strategy ensured the protest passed off without incident.

Early reports had suggested between 200 and 300 people were taking part but police said it was just over 100.

The march ended with speeches outside the Shotton Lane Social Club before the protesters dispersed.

North Wales Police said they mounted an operation to combat any problems between rival factions working in partnership with Flintshire Council, British Transport Police and the local business community

Deputy Chief Constable Ian Shannon said: "I am pleased with the success of the police operation today.

"Our aim was always to allow the protest to pass peacefully whilst taking into account the rights of the people of Shotton to go about their normal business.

"I would like to thank them for their patience and understanding for any disruption that was caused.

"People have a right to protest, but our priority is to safeguard the public and maintain order, which I am pleased to say we achieved today."

Around 100 people had to leave their homes as firefighters fought the blaze on 4 February.

At the time police said they were keeping an open mind and would not been drawn on possible motives.

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