The leaderless English Defence League is holding its first demonstration since the resignation of Tommy Robinson this week.
The rally in the centre of Bradford is the first by the EDL since the departure of Robinson, who said he left the anti-Islamic group because "far-right extremism" had "ruined everything".
Among the groups expected to be among those at the demonstration are the National Front, Casuals United, March for England and the North-West Infidels.
Police said an estimated 750 members of the EDL arrived at the height of the demonstration, travelling to Bradford on coaches and buses from about 11am before being led to a designated area adjacent to Bridge Street.
— Bradford EDL (@BradfordEDL) October 12, 2013
Policing of the event could cost up to £800,000, the Mirror reported.
Gary Hastings, who runs the anti-EDL website EDL News, said he expected a strong turnout in Bradford - if only because so many EDL activists had already paid for their coach and train tickets before they learned Robinson had quit.
The town centre was left desolate as road closures led to disruption in the city centre.
The event in Bradford got off to a slow start:
— Ian Fraser (@fluffyfraser) October 12, 2013
Speaking from the event, Hope Not Hate told The Huffington Post UK that the "EDL is in a distressed condition."
The comments came as the former leader of the far-right group apologised for causing fear among British Muslims and for issuing bigoted, anti-Islamic statements during his time with the group.
In an interview with the Guardian, Robinson, held up his hands and said: "I'm sorry, I'm sorry."
According to the official EDL website, the static demonstration today aims to draw attention to issues including child sexual exploitation among the Muslim community.
However, many Bradford residents appear to be unhappy about the EDL coming to town:
Hope everyone #edl member in Bradford today contracts a fatal disease. You are all scum
— That Boy Ben⚽ (@BCAFCBH) October 12, 2013
EDL in #Bradford today? Thank goodness for the inclement weather. Let's hope it not so much rains on, but drowns their parade.
— Rich Williams (@RichSwitch) October 12, 2013
Have the EDL buggered off from #Bradford yet? Fascists not welcome here.
— Jennie Rigg (@miss_s_b) October 12, 2013
#bradford does not need or want the EDL, ignore their publicity seeking hate march , I’m proud to be an Asian English mixture !
— Yasmin (@fay_yasmin) October 12, 2013
EDL march in Bradford!!? Looool cannot believe how racist people can be...practically like the KKK again 🙈🙈🙈
— Karen 'Kiki' Parimwa (@Kay_SindyyBoo) October 12, 2013
So I guess EDL are in bradford today...#ffs
— masuma♡̲ (@masumaOx) October 12, 2013
Hope that all goes well in Bradford today. We don't need those EDL idiots coming over here taking up our space.
— Chris Allan (@scubadog) October 12, 2013
— Fatima Patel (@EditorAsianSun) October 12, 2013
Bradford West MP George Gallow has urged the police to think again about banning the EDL from rallying in Bradford today.
Meanwhile, EDL speakers at the rally have reportedly said they're going to "kick out" Galloway from Bradford, according to Hope Not Hate.
#EDL speakers now saying they're going to "kick out" George Galloway from Bradford.
Respect Party MP Mr Galloway and his fellow Bradford MP Gerry Sutcliffe called for today's demonstration by the far-right group to be banned, ITV reported.
"The EDL are a scourge who seek to sow division and hatred wherever they go. Time and again, people from ethnic minorities, their places of worship, passers by and even the police have been subject to terrible abuse and even violence from the thugs who come on all their events, " said Mr Galloway.
Bradford Together - a Banner group consisting of several organisations such as Hope not Hate, Bradford Women for Peace and Bradford Council for Mosques - are also planning an event on the same day of the rally which aims to promote "peace, unity and solidarity" in Bradford.
On the eve of today's demonstration more than 1,000 people from different religions and backgrounds gathered in Centenary Square yesterday for a day-long vigil, where more than 2,500 green ribbons were given out as a symbol of peace.
Today, many of those ribbons could be seen tied to landmarks around the city centre, Bradford's Telegraph & Argus reported.
The event also saw hundreds of people write poignant messages on a giant ‘Wall of Peace’.
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