National Front
National Front members are planning a protest in Heywood, Rochdale (Reuters) Reuters

Just a week after far-right thugs went on the rampage in Rochdale, at the centre of a rape trial involving Asian men and young white girls, a violent racist group will descend on the town.

The National Front plans to demonstrate in Heywood on 3 March in response to the trial of 11 Asian men who are accused of raping underage girls. All deny the charges.

On 23 February a 200-strong mob with links to the English Defence League (EDL) whipped up a violent frenzy, smashing the windows of a takeaway linked to the trial at Liverpool crown court and hurling bricks at police. An officer was injured.

The fiercely racist National Front found notoriety in the 1970s for its violent attacks on black and Asian victims and its ties with neo-Nazi groups. Its popularity has waned significantly since then with the rise of the British National Party (BNP) and EDL.

About 150 people put their name down on the Facebook event page as planning to attend.

A spokesman for Rochdale Council said it would be monitoring the situation alongside Greater Manchester Police.