A Merseyside Police officer was hospitalised with concussion and swastikas were daubed on buildings as far-right group the North West Infidels ran amok in Liverpool. The male officer was injured after violence broke out in the city on Saturday (28 February) when members of the group marched to exercise its "democratic rights to Freedom of Expression, Speech, Movement and Assembly", the group's Facebook page said.
Unite Against Fascism Merseyside organised a counter-demonstration at short notice and police in riot gear were deployed in an attempt to stop tension from boiling over. Dozens of people were arrested when the rival groups came face-to-face at St George's Hall, where police kettled in demonstrators.
"A number of counter protest groups turned out as a result of the planned demonstration and officers acted quickly to separate the groups. During incidents around the area of Lime Street and St George's Plateau missiles were thrown and there were some scuffles among protesters," statement said before adding that "a number of arrests were made."
Liverpool mayor Joe Andersen condemned the behaviour on Twitter:
Unite Against Fascism Merseyside said it mobilised 500 supporters, including Liverpool deputy mayor Ann O'Bryne, other councillors as well as members of the Jewish and Irish community. "The fascists threw objects and firecrackers at people and – we understand – daubed swastikas on the outside walls of the building where their protest took place," the group said before congratulating members for resisting the group.
The anti-racism activist group Hope Not Hate also tweet pictures from the immediate aftermath of the protest.