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Saturday, 19 May, 2001, 17:54 GMT 18:54 UK
Oldham police deter racial showdown
National Front demonstrators in Oldham
The protests two weeks ago saw sporadic clashes
A demonstration by the National Front in Oldham has passed without major incident after protesters were escorted away by police.

Police had been braced for trouble after the right-wing extremist group said it planned to march in the town for the second time in one month.

Members were protesting after allegations that Asians have created local "no go zones" for whites.

Anti-white graffiti in Oldham
Racist graffiti has stirred tensions in Oldham
More than 500 police officers were drafted into the Greater Manchester town, where racial tension has risen significantly in recent months.

But a Greater Manchester Police spokeswoman said "nothing happened" in the city centre.

About 10 to 15 National Front protesters travelled to Oldham but were detained on the Holts estate while handing out leaflets, and later escorted out of Greater Manchester.

One man was arrested for obstruction in the city centre.

Anti-Nazi League protesters took to the streets to hand out leaflets and urge people to sign petitions against the National Front.

Political marches have been banned in the town for three months.

However, the National Front marched there two weeks ago.

That protest also passed off relatively peacefully, with only sporadic clashes between the National Front and members of the Anti-Nazi League.

'Zero tolerance'

Chief Superintendent Eric Hewitt had promised "zero tolerance" for troublemakers on Saturday.

He said the policing operation had "served to reassure and protect the public and no damage or injuries were sustained".

Latest police figures show a record level of race attacks in the town, with 60% of victims white.

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