A FAR right group staged a demonstration in York on Saturday, leading to a heavy police presence and several arrests.

A group of neo Nazis gathered near the Minster and St Michael le Belfrey church at around 3pm, and there was a heavy police presence around the group.

Police have confirmed they were called just after 3pm to what they called a disturbance near the Minster.

Nazi salutes were seen and the group unfurled an anti-refugee banner with a picture of Adolf Hitler on it.

Posts from twitter accounts claiming to represent the group National Action said it had been behind the demonstration.

A police spokesman said officers were monitoring a far-right protest involving around 30 to 40 protestors when altercations broke out between demonstrators and members of the public.

Five people were arrested - including four of the demonstrators and one member of the public. 

The arrested men were:

  • A 25-year-old man from Weymouth who was arrested to prevent a breach of the peace and for failing to supply his details. - Cautioned
  • A 25-year-old man from West Bromwich on suspicions of racially aggravated public order offence. - Released on bail while enquiries continue
  • A 31-year-old man from Horley, Surrey on suspicion of using threatening words/behaviour. - Released on bail while enquiries continue
  • A 21-year-old man from Swansea on suspicion of a public order offence. - Released on bail while enquiries continue
  • A 27-year-old man from York on suspicion of using threatening words/behaviour. - Released without charge.

The rest of the protest group, who are believed to have travelled from around the country, were escorted back to York railway station by police officers to prevent any further disturbances.

York Press:

Picture: Richard Morley

"Enquiries into the incident will continue to identify any further offences and officers have not ruled out making any further arrests", they added.

Superintendent Dave Hannan said: “Everyone has a right to peaceful and lawful protest, however, the police will not tolerate racist, offensive or violent behaviour.

"The situation was soon brought under control with offenders arrested and the remaining  protestors escorted out of the city. Detectives will continue to investigate the incident and will take action against any further offences they identify as a result of their enquiries.”

One eye witness said police surrounded and contained the neo-Nazi group, who were wearing masks over their faces and doing a Nazi salute.

Bystanders reportedly cheered as some of the protesters were arrested, and one man could be seen challenging them shouting: "You're all cowards. You're hiding your faces because you're ashamed of what you're doing."

St Michael le Belfrey church tweeted to say their building was safe.

The demonstrators - thought to be from fascist group National Action - were seen being escorted across Lendal Bridge toward the railway station at around 4.15pm.