Protest march return ‘unlikely’

March for England in Blackpool
March for England in Blackpool
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Organisers of a march along Blackpool Promenade which involved clashes between rival protestors have revealed it is “unlikely” they will return to the resort next year.

On Saturday more than 100 nationalist supporters took to the seafront to celebrate St George’s Day with a ‘March for England’.

Brandishing flags the marchers set off towards Blackpool Tower from South Shore, but the walk turned violent with reports of clashes between rival protestors from anti-fascist groups.

Following the arrest of five people on suspicion of disorder offences, organisers from March for England today confirmed it was doubtful they would return to the resort next year.

A spokesman told The Gazette: “I do not think we will come back next year. I am thinking it will be unlikely.

“I cannot say 100 per cent, but the way the march was disrupted, I do not want to go down the route of disturbances again. It has made me think ‘is it worth it?’

“The number one safety aspect is families and businesses in the resort.”

People had travelled from all over the country to take part in the march, which has been held in Brighton for the last five years.

Following problems of violence and vandalism, it moved to the North West for the first time this year.

Unsavoury footage of clashes between protestors on the Promenade emerged on video sharing website YouTube on Sunday.

Members of a group called Oppose the March for England, which took part in a counter-demonstration, were unavailable for comment.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “A planned policing operation was in place to ensure public safety and minimise disruption to the town. The majority of people attending the March for England event behaved peacefully and co-operated with police.

“A minority of individuals broke away from the event and, together with a number of counter protestors, did behave in a way that was unacceptable which is why officers intervened to make a number of arrests and ensure that normal business in the town was largely uninterrupted. The operation ensured that the town centre itself was unaffected.”

Asked if the protesters would be welcome back in the resort, the spokesman added: “If it were to return to Blackpool as with any pre-planned event, we would liaise with the event organiser and relevant agencies to ensure that it passes off safely and peacefully.”