We are not about violence and racism, say organisers

MARCHING The EDL protest moves off down Edinburgh Road
MARCHING The EDL protest moves off down Edinburgh Road
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MARCH organisers say violence and racism has no place within the English Defence League’s Portsmouth branch.

Organiser Paul Ness spoke out after up to 500 protesters turned out to march through the city.

Seven people, who police say are EDL supporter, were arrested during the event.

Before the event the EDL said it was working with police to ensure a peaceful event.

It said its aim was to protest against extremism and that there were no racist undertones to its campaign.

Mr Ness told The News: ‘I’m embarrassed about the seven people that were arrested if they are English Defence League supporters.’

When asked for his views on people who hurled racist abuse during the march, he said: ‘We don’t want that in the EDL.

‘When you get a lot of people together you are going to get one or two that have had too much to drink.

‘We went there today as we wanted to show our support to the people of our country and the people that come and live in our country.

‘Today we had old people there, we had young people, we had families pushing pushchairs, we had two people in wheelchairs. We want to go forward.

‘OK, today there were seven arrests and a little scuffle but whatever groups you have you will get these people who will go along.’

‘Ninety-eight per cent of people there today have stood up and been counted and hopefully were well-behaved and stood up for what we believe in. We are not about violence and racism.’