Two people have been arrested after vehicles belonging to anti-Islam group Britain First were smashed up in Bradford city centre. About 30 activists from the Christian right-wing party descended on the city on 13 February where they handed out leaflets to local residents.
But it appears not everyone was happy the group being in Bradford as two of its vehicles, parked in Hamm Strasse and nearby Lumb Lane, were damaged in the space of 15 minutes. Britain First leaders later posted pictures on its website showing cars with smashed windows and damaged wing mirrors, saying its activists had been "attacked".
Police say two local men, aged 27 and 29, were arrested on suspicion of affray in relation to the incident in Hamm Strasse and subsequently bailed pending further enquiries.
The incident comes after the group, which campaigns against Islam and immigration, had told IBTimes UK it was planning an "unprecedented" number of events for 2016. The party's activists, who often choose communities with a significant Muslim population, have already carried out "Christian patrols" which sees them hand out anti-Islam literature while marching through high streets carrying religious crosses.
West Yorkshire Police revealed they had issued Britain First activists – who are led by Paul Golding and deputy leader Jayda Fransen – with dispersal notices during the event in Bradford, requiring them to leave the city and West Yorkshire county. These are usually issued to prevent further disturbances between groups and individuals.
Anti-extremist groups, like Hope not Hate and Unite Against Fascism (UAF), have in the past accused the group of stoking up Islamophobia and spreading hatred. Britain First's leaders insist they are a peaceful political party supported by more than a million people.
Following the incident in Bradford, superintendent Damien Miller, of Bradford District Police, said: "Enquiries are continuing this evening into this affray following the unannounced arrival of around 30 Britain First members to Bradford this afternoon (13 February).
"The group visited Darley Street and Lumb Lane but did not parade. They were monitored throughout by West Yorkshire Police and issued with dispersal notices requiring them to leave the county.
"We continue to hold two men in custody for questioning following an attack on a vehicle brought by the group and we have recovered extensive CCTV footage which we are reviewing this evening.
"I would ask anyone who saw the attacks on vehicles on both Hamme Strasse and Lumb Lane to contact Bradford District Police on 101. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."