Police have confirmed that no arrests were made at today’s English Defence League demo, and thanked everyone involved for ensuring that it passed off peacefully.
Between 150 and 200 EDL supporters, who travelled from all over the country, gathered in Preston today to stage a demonstration.
At the same time, Preston’s Flag Market hosted a One Preston, One Community event with entertainment, balloons and cakes.
Red roses with messages of peace and love were handed out to passers by.
Ch Supt Chris Bithell who led today’s policing operation said: “We estimate that around between 150 - 200 EDL demonstrators were with us this afternoon and that there were around 300 people at the community celebration event. I would like to thank the local community and businesses in the city centre for their tolerance both during the events and in the lead up to them.
“All our officers and staff should also be commended for their efforts, as well as those who have worked alongside us from other organisations, in particular, Preston City Council, community volunteers, marshals and mediators.
“The aim of the policing operation was to allow, with minimum disruption to the city centre, peaceful protests which we have demonstrated is possible through careful planning and successful communication at all levels.
“Again, i would like to thank all involved for their tolerance, understanding and co-operation throughout.”
Peter Rankin, the Leader of Preston Council, added: “We’ve seen today exactly what Preston is about. One city and one community together.
“Our strength is what unites us. Our mutual respect and understanding is what makes us.
“And our willingness to live peacefully with each other is what helps us to be the proud city that we are.
“The message is clear. Preston’s communities stand together against any attempt to cause division or discord.
“I must pay tribute to the people of Preston and to everyone who has rallied round and all pulled together. I would also like to thank the Police for the simply outstanding job they have done policing the event. They are as much part of the community as we all our and Preston is stronger today as a result.
“Let’s just hope people respect our deep desire to get on with one another and let Preston be the proud city that it is.”