EDL March In Preston Sees Muslims Hand Out Free Food Amid Anti-Islam Chants

Muslims have made friendly gestures to passers-by during a rally and march by far right group the English Defence League, amid a heavy police presence.

Around 200 EDL supporters gathered in Preston for their first event of 2016, the Press Association reported, and a photo from the National Police Air Service showed a group in the street holding St George's Cross flags.

The group said Saturday's protest in Preston, which has a large Asian population, was to highlight "another creeping Sharia city".

But while EDL supporters chanted anti-Muslim slogans, a counter demonstration was held at the same time, with local Muslims handing out free food and hot drinks to passers-by.

"Is this the most ridiculous moment from the EDL protest?" asked the local site Blog Preston, which covered both protests.

Its writer Luke Beardsworth said it came across a sign being held by a woman at the EDL protest, which said: “One community, one Preston. That’s what Preston was like before Islam divided us.”

But on questioning the woman, Beardsworth claims the was actually from Liverpool, and admitted she did not know what Preston had been like "before Islam".

Billed as a 'One Community' event to promote diversity, the counter protest attracted a few hundred visitors, including Youth Parliament member Connor Dwyer who said he was "so proud" of people in the city for opposing the EDL march.

The two protests were kept apart by steel barriers, and both were warned of arrest under the Public Order Act if they left their designated areas. Both passed off peacefully.

Police leave was cancelled and around 400 officers were on duty, with mounted officers and riot vans swamping Preston city centre.

It is believed no arrests were made during the hour long EDL event, where supporters chanted anti-Muslim slogans and went on a short march and rally before dispersing.