Video: Hundreds gather as English Defence League marches through Batley

Up to 300 English Defence League supporters joined forces today (Saturday) to march through Batley.

The EDL members marched from Batley Working Men’s Club, snaked along Wellington Street, on to Commercial Street and into Batley Market Place.

EDL march through Batley

EDL march through Batley

The procession was led by chants of “We are the famous EDL” and “England till I die” from its members.

Supporters draped in Union Jacks and St George’s flags where hemmed in by lines of police.

Joining in with the march were people of all ages, from pensioners to mums with their toddler children.

The far-right group reached Batley Market Place and teams of police officers, some of whom had been drafted in from other counties, flanked the crowds.

People lined Market Place and watched on as several EDL members made speeches and rallying cries.

The march followed an earlier counter demonstration by the Kirklees Unite Against Fascism and Huddersfield TUC.

Around 50 people gathered in the New Way car park, including Coun Shabir Pandor (Lab, Batley West) who said the EDL march had “gone down like a lead balloon”.

“The community has stood side by side and the EDL has fooled nobody,” he said.

“The people of Batley have gone about their normal business.”

Most traders in the town remained open despite the march.

Angela Putterill, manager of the Corner Cafe, said the demonstrations had not affected business.

“We did not know what to expect but trade has been good,” she said.

“People have been able to come and go but there has been lots of police to make sure that could happen.”

The EDL members got on a fleet of buses and left Batley at around 2.30pm.

No arrests were made at the demonstration.

Kirklees Council and the police thanked the residents of Batley for their support.

Supt Ged McManus, of Kirklees Police, said: “I want to pay my thanks to the people of Batley for the way they have conducted themselves today.

“The events have passed off with very few issues and that has been helped by the behaviour of local residents who have not got involved and left managing the events to the police and colleagues at Kirklees Council.

“Demonstrators have the right to protest and we have to facilitate that right, but both the police and council have worked hard to minimise disruption to residents.

“Keeping everyone safe and then allowing the town to quickly return to normal has been our top priority.”

Coun Peter O’Neill (Lab, Batley West), cabinet member for communities, said: “Kirklees Council staff have worked closely in partnership with local communities, businesses, and police to keep Batley safe and open for business as usual today. Everyone has done a great job – thank you for all your hard work and support”.