SIX people were arrested during a heated protest against the creation of a mosque in Sunderland.
The English Defence League held a march on Saturday against plans to open a new mosque on the site of an old council depot in St Mark’s Road, while anti-fascist groups held a counter demonstration.
Dozens of police officers were deployed in the area and the two groups, which totalled about 100 people, were kept on opposite sides of the road.
Police say that six people were arrested over minor disorder offences at the protest.
There have been a number of stand-offs with the city’s Anti-fascist Network since the plans were announced in 2012.
Syed Ali, one of the organisers of the counter-protest, paid tribute to the police for the way they had handled the situation at the weekend.
“We would like to thank the police,” he said. “They did a commendable job.”
Sunderland superintendent Jim Napier said: “The police were there to ensure the safety of everyone involved, and the vast majority of people behaved in a calm and sensible way.
“Disruption was kept to a minimum and we are grateful for the support we received from local communities who behaved with great dignity.
“Extra officers will continue to be in the area to provide reassurance to the community.”