Fourteen Arrested At Rival Demos'

Fourteen people are being questioned after protests by two rival groups in Halifax yesterday.

West Yorkshire Police said there was a large, high-visibility police presence in the town centre and both demonstrations passed peacefully with minimal disruption. Around 150 people gathered in the Bull Green area of the town supporting the English Defence League, while around 50 people gathered in the Park Ward area supporting the Muslim Defence League.

Around 200 officers from across the West Yorkshire area were involved in policing the event, with help from officers from Calderdale Council. A police spokesman said a total of 14 arrests were made for minor public order offences - the vast majority of these were men involved in the English Defence League demonstration.

Acting Superintendent Martin Lister, of West Yorkshire Police's Calderdale Division, said: ``Our officers enjoyed a tremendous response to today's operation from the local public which ensured that today's demonstrations could both pass peacefully without disorder, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank residents and businesses of Halifax for this.

``West Yorkshire Police is fully committed to upholding freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest. Although it has to be said that a minority seemed intent on causing disorder, the majority of those taking part demonstrated peacefully and with respect for the rights of other people within our community.''