At least one person has been arrested after more than 50 English Defence League protesters demonstrated outside Calderdale Magistrates’ Court this morning (Thursday) as 25 men appeared charged with serious sex offences against two girls.
A 36-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of committing a public order offence and is in police custody, a West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said.
Officers were forced to seal off the building at Blackwall as protestors surged towards the entrance.
As two people left the court, there was a confrontation and a group of demonstrators followed the pair into Halifax town centre.
Cars on Fountain Street had to stop as the group made their way into the town.
This morning, the group carrying banners marched from the town centre and gathered outside the court to stage a protest.
They shouted abuse at passers-by and people going into court, as police monitored the situation.
There was also an earlier confrontation between a member of the public and several EDL members but officers intervened.
There was a heavy police presence around the building and the road was closed ahead of the hearing. Extra officers were on patrol around the town centre.
A police spokesperson said: “Rest assured we have a comprehensive policing plan in place to ensure that the people that live, work and visit Halifax are safe and feel safe.
“The town centre will have an increased neighbourhood policing footprint. This includes neighbourhood officers, PCSO’s, Community wardens and two mounted officers.”
The 25 men face charges including rape, sexual activity with a child under 16 and trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation.