UPDATED: Seven people have been arrested in Rotherham today in connection with a far-right protest.
The South East Alliance had been due to protest against child abuse in the town today.
But a strong police presence across the town has led to six people in total woman being arrested over the planned event.
Four men and one woman were arrested in Rotherham between 12 and 1pm, including two men for public order offences, a man and a woman for breaching the peace and a man for breaching bail.
A sixth person was later arrested. Those detained were all aged between 17 and 42-years-old.
Police also issued 52 dispersal notices - which mean the person issued the notice must leave the area, or they could be arrested.
Officers also prevented 12 vehicles from entering the town.
We hope today’s operation has sent out a clear message to right-wing groups intent on causing disorder that we will take a no-nonsense approach
The police have outlined why they have been taking a hard-line approach to the protesters, via a post on the South Yorkshire Police Facebook page.
A statement by South Yorkshire Police said: “South Yorkshire Police used robust tactics to prevent members of the South East Alliance (SEA) and other groups from protesting in Rotherham today (Saturday 7 March).
“Information posted on social media suggested the SEA would protest in the town today but the force received no formal notification and we had no engagement with the group.
“A significant policing operation was put in place and a decision was made to prevent people we reasonably assumed were intent on causing disorder or violence from entering the town.
“Officers utilised common law breach of the peace powers and dispersal notices under anti-social behaviour legislation to prevent people entering Rotherham or returning for a set period of time.
“A significant number of people tried to travel into the county by car, coach and by rail.
“Twelve vehicles were prevented from entering Rotherham, nine from within South Yorkshire and three from outside the county.
“This was done under breach of the peace powers, as based on information we had at the time we reasonably assumed those on board were intent on causing disorder and violence.
“Officers issued 52 dispersal notices to people they reasonably believed would go on to cause anti-social behaviour, including a number of people arriving in Rotherham by train. These people were escorted out of Rotherham.
“These notices mean people must leave a designated area and can be arrested if they return.
“Seven people were arrested as part of the operation, six men and one woman aged between 17 and 42-years-old, for public order, breach of the peace and breach of bail offences.
“The woman was later de-arrested and issued with a dispersal notice.
“As a result of this action, no protest took place in Rotherham.”
Gold Commander for the operation Deputy Chief Constable Andy Holt said: “From the start of today’s operation it was always our intention to use these robust tactics to prevent groups of people intent on disorder from entering the county.
“These tactics were used proportionately based on the information posted on social media and this group’s prior activity.
“A significant number of people travelled to South Yorkshire to protest who we felt we could reasonably judge would engage in violence, disorder or damage.
“The use of these tactics prevented any form of protest taking place in Rotherham.
“This meant there was no disruption or inconvenience for local businesses and community members, which was our ultimate aim.
“We hope today’s operation has sent out a clear message to right-wing groups intent on causing disorder that we will take a no-nonsense approach and will do everything within our power to prevent disruption to the lives of the public of South Yorkshire.”
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