Four arrests made ahead of Tommy Robinson protests in Telford but no “significant issues” say police
Police arrested four people who were “involved in antisocial behaviour” earlier today, ahead of a Tommy Robinson protest in Telford town centre.
Around 500 people showed up for a public protest and film screening by far-right activist Tommy Robinson in the Shropshire town, which was met with a counter protest from around 100 anti-racism campaigners.
Both protests groups were kept at a distance from each other and police confirmed the events “concluded without any significant issues”.
Supporters of the far-right figurehead turned out for a screening of Robinson’s latest documentary, allegedly focusing on child sexual exploitation, following a planned march from Telford Central railway station to Malinsgate Police Station.
A counter protest was held nearby with anti-racism and anti-fascist groups calling for “Justice for the victims” of child sexual exploitation, with chants of “Tommy Robinson, we know you, racist, fascist, Nazi too!”
Placards bearing the logos of Socialist Worker and Stand Up to Racism displayed messages including ‘Smash Fascism and Racism’ and ‘Justice for the victims, no to Tommy Robinson’. Antifa flags were also seen flying during the counter protest march.
One placard read: ‘It’s Holocaust Memorial Day, fascists are targeting a religious group blaming them for all our problems. Sound familiar? It should. We know how this ends.’
Robinson – real name is Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon – has previously staged protests and screenings in the town centre, including in May 2022.
West Mercia Police said its officers had been in discussion with the organisers of both groups “to ensure any disruption is kept to a minimum”.
Superintendent Jamie Dunn, the Telford Local Policing Commander, said: “I’d like to thank local residents, businesses and those visiting the town centre today for their support and understanding while the protests took place.
“We can confirm both protests have now concluded without any significant issues although four people were arrested before the protest took place after they were involved in anti-social behaviour.”
Earlier today, a West Mercia Police statement read: “We know this event causes concern within our local communities and have been working with them to offer support and reassurance.
“People will see an increased police presence in Telford this afternoon, both around the town centre and other areas with officers there to maintain public safety and help minimise disruption.”
In November, Robinson, 40, was arrested near the Royal Courts of Justice, accused of failing to comply with a dispersal order to leave a march against antisemitism in central London, a claim he denies.
He was subsequently arrested after organisers said he was not welcome at the event and is due to appear at City of London Magistrates’ Court for trial in April.
Bail conditions that prevent Robinson from entering within the M25, or attending or organising a protest within London, remain in place.