Arrests made amid protests in Portsmouth

Police attend a protest outside the Jami Mosque in Southsea and take away a man in handcuffs  (131424-2)
Police attend a protest outside the Jami Mosque in Southsea and take away a man in handcuffs (131424-2)
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FOUR people have been arrested amid protests in Portsmouth, including two outside Southsea’s Jami Mosque.

Officers from Hampshire Constabulary stood guard outside the mosque, in Victoria Road North, this evening after small pockets of people expressed an intention to protest.

The force says it has extra officers out on the streets to ensure protests remain peaceful and prevent disorder.

A spokeswoman for Hampshire Constabulary said four people have been arrested, including a 15-year-old boy who was detained outside the Jami Mosque for a racially-aggravated public order offence, using offensive language.

Earlier in the evening, a man was detained there for a similar offence.

Elsewhere, a 24-year-old man has been arrested for a minor assault following a scuffle in Fratton Road.

And a fourth man was arrested for refusing to leave a pub when police issued a dispersal order there.

Despite these arrests, police say the protests have remained peaceful.

Hampshire Constabulary earlier posted a message on social networking website Twitter which said: ‘Please be assured, despite rumours on social media, no mosques in Portsmouth are being attacked.

‘We have police across the area keeping peace.’

Another message on the force’s Facebook page read: ‘If you are in the centre of Portsmouth this evening and you see a larger than usual police presence, please don’t be alarmed.

‘We have extra officers out on the streets this evening to ensure everybody remains safe.

‘There is a large gathering of people who have expressed a wish to protest this evening, and our officers are there to make sure this passes peacefully.

‘We will keep a very close eye on it and if there is any disruption to traffic or roads in the area, we will give you all the information you need to know.’

Hampshire Constabulary said the protesters dispersed at around 8pm.

The police also moved to quash rumours that a fire in Fratton Road this afternoon was related to the protest.

Police officers and firefighters from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service were called to a fire, but it was underground and thought to have been caused by a fault in some electrical cabling.

John Apter, the chairman of the Hampshire Police Federation, said: ‘[It is] good to hear the Portsmouth protests have passed off peacefully.

‘Well done to protesters for making their point sensibly.’