Protesters marching along Blackpool Promenade to demonstrate “pride in England” were stopped in their tracks by police officers who created a human barrier.
Around 100 nationalist marchers set off from Yates, South Shore, and the Sun Inn in Bolton Street, at around 1.30pm on Saturday to mark St George’s Day with a ‘March for England’.
Five arrests were made but there was fairly minimal impact from the march
Brandishing the St George’s flag, they chanted ‘English ‘til I die’ and made their way towards Blackpool Tower.
But police had lined up in the road to create a barrier, preventing the protesters from continuing their march.
Insp Claire Cooper, force incident manager for Lancashire Police, said five people were arrested on suspicion of disorder offences.
She said: “Five arrests were made but there was fairly minimal impact from the march.
“The police did running cordons to keep the crowds under control and deal with people who may have needed segregating from the group.
“The cordoning tactics were successful in dispersing the crowds, and activity on the Promenade was back to normal by 3.30pm.”
People had travelled from all over the country to take part in the march, which has been held in Brighton for the last five years.
Following problems of violence and vandalism, it moved to the North West for the first time this year.
Kevin Stretton, 45, from South Shore, said: “This is a peaceful march to show our pride in England.
“We’re the quiet side of the EDL (English Defence League).
“We support the armed forces and UKIP (UK Independence Party).
“I won’t hide behind a flag.”
Fellow EDL member and UKIP supporter Peter Barwick, 48, from Middlesborough, added: “This is our England.
“Some people say that to fly our flag in our own country is racism.
“This is a protest. I’ve worked all my life and paid my taxes; we shouldn’t be letting people in to claim benefits.”
A group calling themselves ‘Oppose the March for England’ also planned a counter-demonstration in Blackpool on Saturday “to promote a future based around social justice”.