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English Defence League: Arrests Made After EDL Demonstrations In Bristol City Centre (PICTURES)

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Seven protesters have been arrested as two major demonstrations took place in Bristol city centre on Saturday.

Riot police made the arrests as up to 300 English Defence League (EDL) demonstrators marched through the city in a high-profile rally.

Clashes between the police and EDL protesters took place as missiles were thrown and paper inside wheelie bins was set on fire.

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Demonstrators at Saturday's march in Bristol

"We are responding to missiles being thrown. We are working to calm things down," the official Avon and Somerset Police Twitter feed reported.

Earlier demonstrators walked through rainswept streets to Queen Square where EDL leaders made speeches to their supporters.

Violence broke out after the EDL rally at the square had finished.

It took place while up to 500 anti-EDL protesters with the We Are Bristol campaign marched in the city in a counter demonstration.

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Angry protesters confront police

Protesters chanted and carried placards, one of which read: "If you can read this you shouldn't be in the EDL."

But the routes of both marches were pre-planned to ensure that both sides were kept apart.

Earlier in the week police confirmed that two local EDL members had received death threats in the run-up to Saturday's march.

A total of 1,000 police have been patrolling the city's streets as part of a major operation to ensure both demonstrations were peaceful.

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Demonstrators hold up anti-Sharia placards

"A 44-year-old man arrested for assaulting a police officer. This brings the total number of arrests to seven," the official Twitter feed added.

Earlier arrests reported during the day have included two for failing to remove masks, one for a racially aggravated public order offence and one for unlawful assembly.

A 24-year-old man was also taken into custody after he was found at what police described as "on enclosed premises".

Mounted police flanked by officers in riot gear have been highly visible around the agreed routes of both marches.

The large police operation was designed to minimise any disruption caused by the marches.


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We have a small group who set alight some bins. We are dealing with this robustly and will not tolerate any disorder.

Avon and Somerset Police have been working closely with Bristol City Council and other local agencies to plan for the march.

A number of roads have been closed to traffic, including Redcliffe Way, Temple Gate and Bedminster Bridge and some businesses have closed for the day.

Elsewhere in the city thousands more people were marching as part of this year's Bristol Pride celebrations.

A Pride Parade to College Green marked the end of a week of events celebrating the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

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