Published on Saturday, 12 January 2013 23:47 Written by Katy Hallam
Sixty English Defence League supporters have held a demonstration Solihull town centre.
Shoppers at the Touchwood Centre in Solihull looked on in horror this afternoon (Saturday) as the EDL far right extremists waved flags and shouted anti-Islamist chants as they passed by.
Pav Sehra, 22, from Solihull, saw the commotion as she left the main shopping area and saw the protesters at Brueton Gardens, on Warwick Road at around 1pm.
She said: “I think it is ridiculous.
“They shouldn’t be allowed to do it in public.”
The demonstration was organised by Matthew Pile, who runs the EDL Birmingham Division’s blog and is based in Sutton Coldfield.
Members came from as far as south east London to take part.
A member of the Birmingham Division, who was acting as a security for the EDL on the day, said: “We have liaised with police and the police have liaised with us.
“We were expecting around 50 people to turn up but we’ve got a few more than that.
“It is peaceful.
“No anti groups have shown up but I don’t know what will happen if they do.”
West Midlands Police said that they were aware of the demonstration and would be deploying officers to the area.
Right wing extremists from the British National Party said they did not want to be associated with the event.
BNP member Ian Stock, from Sheldon, called the Sunday Mercury to distance himself from the rally.
He said: “They have just sent me a text message saying they are holding an demonstration against Islamification in the West Midlands.
“We do not agree with anything they are doing today.
“I saw what they did in Dudley.”
Mr Stock was referring to violent scenes in Dudley as the EDL protested against the opening of a mosque there in June 2010.
Several people were injured when bricks and metal security fences were launched at riot police and 21 arrests were made.
Violence flared as United Against Fascism staged a counter protest at the same time.
A 16 year-old girl suffered a broken leg and six people were knocked over “like skittles” by a car fleeing the far right protesters in one demonstration.
Shops in Dudley had closed early and some boarded up windows as the EDL demonstrators descended on the town.
* Matthew Pile has been charged with attacking a man on the bus in the city centre.
Credit: Birmingham Mail