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Protest police cost was 200,000

12 October 09 13:50 GMT

The cost of policing rival protests in Manchester city centre on Saturday was about £200,000, it has been revealed.

More than 2,000 people, from the English Defence League (EDL) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF), demonstrated in Piccadilly Gardens.

Police made 48 arrests, mainly for public order offences. Four people were held on suspicion of affray.

Greater Manchester Police Authority (GMPA) said the cost would be met by a contingency fund in its 2009/10 budget.

At least 500 police officers, including some in riot gear, acted as a barrier between the rival protesters.

Councillor Paul Murphy, chair of the GMPA, said specialist dog units, mounted patrols and extra communications were all drafted in for the protests.

"It's broken down into the service units who were paid overtime... all of which came to a total of £200,000," said Mr Murphy.

Members of EDL gathered in the city centre to protest against Islamic extremism, but were outnumbered by those objecting to their presence in the city.

Although there were some scuffles between police and protesters, leaders on both sides praised the operation.

Assistant Chief Constable Simon Byrne, of Greater Manchester Police (GMP), said the force would now talk to other forces about its successful tactics.

"It's about sharing information and sharing what works to enable people to protest but do it peacefully and safely.

"We will have dialogue with other police forces and other agencies to help that happen.

"We've had a lot of good feedback from the public and indeed demonstrators themselves about the professional way that our staff have behaved."

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