28 members of the far right English Defence League were arrested today at their Walsall demonstration.
The group accused the police of a heavy handed approach after minor scuffles broke out.
Chief Superintendent Dave Sturman, commander for Walsall and in charge of the day’s operation, said: “The majority of people attending the two demonstrations were peaceful and law abiding. Unfortunately a small number of people at the Leicester Street site became a little more aggressive and there was minor disorder for around ten minutes.
“Arrests were made where necessary and further enquiries will be made to determine if any other offences were committed.
“That said, this has generally been a successful operation, due in no small part to the excellent work between police, our partner agencies and representatives of our communities.
“A great deal of mediation also went on behind the scenes with both the EDL and counter protest organisers to enable them to exercise their democratic right to protest.
“That negotiation led to the two groups employing their own stewards who played a significant role in attempting to maintain order.”
He added: “We recognise that the people of Walsall have been both concerned and inconvenienced and we would like to thank them for their tolerance, co-operation and patience.”
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Forsyth said: “Our priority will always be the safety of the public and protesters while ensuring events like these do not impact on the longer term stability of Walsall’s communities.
“While we will always uphold the democratic right to protest, organisations intent on disorder or provoking violence will continue to be unwelcome in the West Midlands."