EDL: 'We made our point but we won't be back too soon'
LEADERS of the English Defence League have said they will not be making a return visit to Bristol.
Mickey Bayliss, South West organiser for the EDL, said the league was happy with Saturday's demonstration, but was not planning a return visit to the city in the near future.
Mr Bayliss, pictured, 48, said he was disappointed with the numbers which turned out for the demonstration, saying more supporters were expected.
He claimed that members from the Bristol group, along with other supporters across the country, had received death threats ahead of the demonstration taking place which he believes limited the number of people at the rally.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Mr Bayliss said: "The main point is we came to Bristol and people have heard us and we have put our point across. We felt the day went well but we will not be coming back to Bristol in the near future."
Mr Bayliss said he was saddened that some factions had caused trouble during the day, clashing with police.
He added: "People were surprised at the levels of violence.
"There were also a few minor incidents on both sides – one of our supporters had his face bitten.
"I think our supporters behaved well despite the abuse they were receiving. The police did an excellent job in what was a difficult situation and demonstrations such as these are never easy to police.
"We are happy our voices have been heard but are saddened that there was some trouble.
"I regret how much it did cost to police the demonstrations, but these costs were not due only to the EDL."
Mr Bayliss claimed the EDL supporters were generally well received in the city and the organisation had been approached by Bristolians keen to join its ranks.
He added: "We have a membership of around 100 in the city and we are a growing movement. Now people have seen us and know what we are about, it will grow even more.
"The demonstration gave us the opportunity to show what the EDL is about."
Avon and Somerset Assistant Chief Constable Anthony Bangham said: "It is a matter for the EDL where they go to demonstrate. We will facilitate peaceful protest in Bristol but not tolerate any sort of disorder."