Thirteen charged with disorder after Sunderland mosque demo

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THIRTEEN people have been charged after violence erupted between far-right groups and anti-fascists close to the site of a proposed mosque.

A 17-year-old is among those due to appear before magistrates in Sunderland just days before another planned protest.

The charges come almost five months after the demonstration, which saw 200 people take to the streets over plans to build the mosque, in St Mark’s Road, Millfield.

Despite hopes the demonstration would pass peacefully, rival groups clashed and missiles, including rocks, fireworks and glass bottles, were thrown.

As pockets of trouble broke out in the back lanes of Millfield, police with batons were called on to bring the situation under control.

Now, all those charged in relation to the disturbance have been warned to stay away from any future demonstrations.

They have been banned from St Mark’s Road or Chester Road and will not be able to attend a further protest planned for Saturday, March 30.

Chief Superintendent Kay Blyth, Sunderland Area Commander, said: “We were disappointed a protest that was planned as peaceful resulted in a minority of people involved in disorder.

“This had a huge impact on local residents.

“Since then, we have been working closely with the community to respond to community concerns and make people feel safer.

“Protests have taken place since then and have passed peacefully, however this does not mean we are complacent and we continue to monitor the situation and ensure we have an appropriate police presence in the area for any future protests.”

On the day of the trouble, a march had started peacefully at the university’s Murray Library on Chester Road.

But a confrontation was later triggered where members of a number of groups, including the British National Party and English Defence League, clashed with anti-fascists and members of the city’s Muslim community.

Plans to convert a former council transport depot into a new mosque were put forward in 2011 and approved by Sunderland City Council last August.

The application by the Pakistan Islamic Centre attracted almost 700 letters of objection and a petition of more than 1,400 signatures, many from outside Millfield.

The following people will appear before Sunderland Magistrates’ Court on Monday, March 18:

•Darren Stokoe, 21, of Norman Avenue, in Sunderland, has been charged with causing fear / provocation of violence and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 18.

•Anthony Farrer, 37, of Cleveland Road, Sunderland, has been charged with disorderly conduct and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 18.

•Stephen Brown, 32, of Palmerston Road, Sunderland, has been charged with causing fear / provocation of violence and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 18.

•Mohammed Hoque, 19, Hendon Valley Road, charged with fear / provocation of violence and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 19.

•An 18-year-old male youth has been given a caution for fear / provocation of violence.

•Gary Bigger, 41, of Clarke Street in Kilmarnock, Scotland, has been charged with racial/religious aggravated harassment/alarm/distress and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 18.

•William Smith, 44, of McLurian Crescent, Renfewshire, has been charged with causing fear / provocation of violence and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 18.

•Warren Faulkener, 41, of Webb Avenue, Seaham, has been charged with fear / provocation of violence and posessing a controlled drug and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 21.

•Shaun Bunting, 34, of Fenhall Green, Durham, has been charged with disorderly conduct and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 18.

•Dean Spence, 23, of Yew Close, Spennymoor, has been charged with disorderly conduct and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 18.

•Ronald Wood, 39, of Lonnen Drive, Gatehsead has been charged with racial/religious aggravated harassment/alarm/distress and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 18.

•A 17-year-old male youth has been charged with racial/religious aggravated harassment/alarm/distress and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 21.

•Simon Biggs, 47, of Todd’s Nook, Newcastle has been charged with causing fear / provocation of violence and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 18.

•Lewis Spence, 26, of Orchard View, in Durham, has been charged causing fear / provocation of violence and will appear at Sunderland Magistrates Court on March 28.