Merseyside Police is readying for clashes with far-right neo-Nazi group the North West Infidels in central Liverpool, after the organisation changed the venue for a protest march against immigration into the UK. Members of the organisation have now been surrounded by ant-Fascist protesters as they have set up base in The Crown pub on Lime Street in the city after changing the location from Manchester, according to reports on social media.
The Bolton contingent of the neo-Nazi group had goaded police through their Facebook page saying: "The truth is, we never intended to protest in Manchester on the 27 February. In true North West Infidel fashion we have thrown our adversaries a red herring. We will be in Liverpool tomorrow to exercise our democratic rights to Freedom of Expression, Speech, Movement and Assembly. We know people will be there to try and shut us down, they usually are, but we are not there for them. The demo point will be posted on this page at 1.30pm tomorrow. Most of you already know where it is. All European organisations welcome!!"
The demonstration is now expected to take place in Liverpool's Williamson Square. Eleanor Barlow, a reporter for the Liverpool Echo tweeted these images from the scene outside The Crown pub. She said "Anti-fascist protestors are outside The Crown. Apparently the North West Infidels are inside the pub."
In response, Merseyside Police released a statement: "Merseyside Police would like to make it clear that while it will facilitate peaceful protest it will not tolerate disorder, criminal or anti-social behaviour during any demonstration. Officers will monitor the situation as the safety of the public is our main priority and will work to minimise disruption to residents and businesses."
The North West Infidels had previously held a protest March in Manchester in August 2015 where they gathered in the city's Albert Square. The neo-Nazis were met with a show of strength from the Greater Manchester Police who fielded an estimated 50 officers to contain the situation.