Australian-themed bar slammed for welcoming EDL protesters claims police asked them to

Hundreds of police were drafted in to maintain order near Walkabout in Manchester – it claims it was not out to make a profit from the far-right demonstrators

The-English-Defence-League

Walkabout: Hundreds of EDL members flooded into Manchester city centre on Saturday

Bosses at an Australian-themed bar slammed for welcoming EDL protesters have defended their actions – and say they were asked to by police

Walkabout in Manchester claims it was not out to make a profit from the far-right demonstrators.

Hundreds of EDL members flooded into the city centre on Saturday ahead of a march and a rally in Albert Square.

They met in and around the bar on Quay Street, with hundreds of police drafted in to maintain order, reports Manchester Evening News.

Supporters arrived by coach from across the country for the event. Up to 400 members are thought to have gathered in Manchester.

They were herded onto buses outside the Holiday Inn on Liverpool Street in Salford, before being taken to Walkabout on Quay Street ahead of the march.

The English Defence League held a rally in Manchester city centre at the town hall, after gathering at Walkabout

Gathering: English Defence League demonstrators outside the Walkabout

They were then boxed-in by hundreds of officers and escorted to Albert Square, where metal barriers and fences had been erected to maintain order and keep opposing factions apart.

Scores of people took to Twitter to criticise Walkabout bosses for hosting EDL members and allowing them to drink before they set off on their march.

But bosses at the Aussie-themed bar hit back, claiming police asked them to allow EDL members in.

Followers of the @WalkaboutManc Twitter account were told: “As a result of today’s EDL protest, GMP requested that they gather protesters at Walkabout to help minimise or prevent crime and disorder.

“Reluctantly, we agreed to this request and this resulted in an increase in trade. Walkabout will not seek to profit from this and as a result will donate £350 to our chosen charity.”

Walkabout bosses say the cash will be sent to the Niamh’s Next Step cancer charity on Monday.

Police say having EDL members in one place helped maintain order as part of a huge security operation around the Albert Square demonstration, as well as a rally in Piccadilly Gardens by members of Unite Against Fascism.

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Threat: The bar said police asked protesters to gather outside Walkabout

Chief Superintendent John O’Hare said: “Greater Manchester Police has a strong record of working in partnership with licensees to keep Greater Manchester safe and would never force licensed premises to hold an event against their will or place undue pressure on them.

“The ability to accommodate the protesters in one identified location played a significant role in ensuring the event passed off peacefully and we appreciate all the support provided to us by Walkabout.”

Just four arrests were made in connection with the EDL protest and counter protests on Saturday, despite more than 1,000 people coming into the city centre for the events.

Arrests were made before the Albert Square demonstrations, which police described as ‘safe and incident-free’.

The Evening News has contacted Walkabout for further comment, but bosses are yet to reply.

From The Daily Mirror . 09.0315. Report by Todd Fitzgerald

Liveraf Comment. Here at Liveraf we’re a little puzzled over a couple of things in this article.

First of all, we’re wondering why the Daily Mirror chose to feature a photograph of a car which looks as though it belongs to one of the Welsh Police Forces. Have Manchester Police become so strapped for cash that they’re forced to requisition transport from outside?

More to the point, given the EDL’s reputation for drunken hooliganism, we doubt it was wise to corral them into a bar which was selling anything stronger than orange juice.

Whatever, just for once this looks like a story with a silver lining. The charity, Niamh’s Next Step , which is mentioned in the report was set up a couple of years ago, to help children with Neuroblastoma. That’s a particularly evil form of cancer which attacks the nerve cells of young children. So if you see someone rattling a tin for the cause, please feel free to stop shouting “Nazi scum” just long enough to contribute.

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