MANCHESTER UK- Mancunians took to social media to poke fun at EDL protesters today – because not many of them turned up to their demo in Piccadilly Gardens.

About 50 of the group’s supporters showed up, outnumbered by an estimated 300 anti-fascists who mounted a counter-demonstration.

It prompted a huge security operation with police officers seconded from forces across the north-west to make sure the event passed off without serious incident.

The centre of Piccadilly Gardens was penned off, with the rival groups kept well apart as they chanted obscenities at each other.

Just two protesters were arrested although the cost of today’s operation is likely to reach six-figures.

The security for a 2015 EDL demo in the city which attracted 400 of their supporters cost about £250,000.

Tom Jameson said: "I make it two football teams but they’d have to share the reserve!"
Tom Jameson said: “I make it two football teams but they’d have to share the reserve!” (Image: Scott Dawson)

After the M.E.N. tweeted a picture which showed a group of about 20 EDL supporters being led from the Gardens surrounded by police officers, our followers wasted no time in poking fun at them for their lack of numbers.

Kristian Wall wrote: “There have been more members of the Sugababes than turned up to this protest.”

For the record, there have been six members of the Sugababes.

“More police than demonstrators,” said Annie.

“Good on the police for joining the demo and swelling the ranks. Very community spirited,” wrote Mcg.

Tom Jameson said: “I make it two football teams but they’d have to share the reserve!”

Others, however, questioned the cost of the security operation.

“And who picks up the policing bill for that?” asked Geoff Newman.

Although angry words were exchanged and there were isolated skirmished between opposing groups as the EDL contingent was escorted to Piccadilly railways station, just two people were arrested, Greater Manchester Police confirmed later.

Major police presence in Manchester today for what turned out to be a few dozen members of the far-right EDL
Major police presence in Manchester today for what turned out to be a few dozen members of the far-right EDL (Image: Scott Dawson)

Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry said: “Today an EDL protest and counter-protest took place in Piccadilly Gardens in the city center.

“I am happy to say that the overwhelming majority of people who exercised their democratic right to protest have done so peacefully and the demonstration has passed with little disruption. “There have been two arrests, which is not uncommon for an event of this size. “There is still a major police operation in place to ensure the rest of the day continues in the same manner, and all of the other events happening in the city run smoothly.”