Ninety arrested in protest clashes

Ninety people were arrested as anti-fascist campaigners clashed with right-wing protesters in a city centre over the weekend. Violent scenes erupted in Birmingham city centre as campaigners took on supporters of a rally against Islamic fundamentalism by The English Defence League (EDL) on Saturday.

As shoppers looked on, gangs of men and youths hurled bottles at one another and pelted riot police with bricks in the New Street area of the city, close to the main train station. Yesterday, West Midlands Police confirmed 90 people were arrested after the disturbances.

A spokeswoman said they were all male, aged between 16 and 39, and offences included criminal damage and violent disorder, including possession of an offensive weapon. She said: "A number of fixed penalty notices have been issued while the remainder have been bailed while further enquiries take place." The disorder, which followed similar violent scenes at an EDL protest last month, involved around 200 people and spilled on to the adjoining Bennetts Hill, a street lined with a number of pubs popular with shoppers.

Police and the city council had taken steps to deal with possible violence, including getting a order from the Home Secretary banning protesters from the Bullring area of the city, under section 14a of the Public Order Act.