Anti-fascism protesters make their voices heard in the city

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MORE than 200 people of all ages gathered at Guildhall Square in Portsmouth to protest against the EDL march.

Holding banners saying ‘Diversity enriches Portsmouth’ protesters braved the wet and windy weather to make sure their voices were heard.

The group made up of students, members of United Against Fascism, Unison and Muslims started to gather at 11am.

By 1pm there was a 200 strong crowd of people collectively cheering to call for anti-fascism.

Around 50 police officers were patrolling the square based at different points but the demonstration has been largely peaceful with no obvious incidents between officers and protesters.

The War Memorial remained fenced off throughout the protest, guarded by security officers.

Ciara Squires, 18, a student from Portsmouth, said: ‘I live in Portsmouth and I just want to show that EDL are not welcome here.

‘They can’t come here and intimidate our Muslim community.’

Councillor Terry Hall, of the Eastney and Craneswater ward, said: ‘They have a right to protest but I do not want them in my city. They don’t represent most of the people in the city.

‘When you look around and see so many police officers, the cost of this is going to be horrific.’

Abulkasim Suyed, 42, who runs a take-away in North End, said: ‘I am a Muslim but I am also a citizen of Portsmouth. We are against extremists and we are peace loving people.’