THE community has been thanked for helping to make sure the EDL demonstration passed off as peacefully as possible.
Calderdale Police and Calderdale Council say people showed restraint, tolerance and understanding at the efforts being made to keep the far-right group’s protest under control.
Despite Eureka, Halifax Minster, pubs and other businesses having to shut on Saturday, Halifax town centre was still busy with shoppers determined to get on with their usual weekend business.
The launch of Halifax Festival also took place as planned, with families flocking to the Piece Hall for performances from some of the best brass bands in the country and a screening of Brassed Off.
Head of operations for Calderdale, Superintendent Stan Bates, said: “We have done a lot of work with Calderdale Council and the local community in the build-up to these events and we would like to thank those who have helped to plan for and manage the protest.
“The police have worked effectively with partner agencies to handle the situation and to respond quickly to the events throughout the day.
“Inevitably there was some disruption to traffic in the centre of town and in surrounding areas and to normal town-centre life.
“We would like to thank local people for their restraint, tolerance and understanding, which helped ensure the day passed with minimal disruption.”
Police cannot say yet how much the demonstration will have cost them but a protest by the group in Bradford last summer cost the force £650,000.
Halifax MP Linda Riordan said: “I would like to thank the police for doing a fantastic job to ensure the EDL were controlled and policed effectively.
“The people of Halifax should be congratulated for turning a blind eye to the EDL’s politics of hatred, division and intolerance.
“I hope the town can now return to normal after so much upheaval.
“It’s sad that so many local businesses lost trade as a result of these people coming to Halifax.
“I hope the EDL now get the clear message that they are not wanted, needed or welcome in our town.”
Scores of messages have been posted on the Courier Facebook site condemning the EDL.
They include: “If they want to fight for England, join the Army” and “meanwhile the innocent people of Halifax have to stay home to avoid being caught up in any conflict.”