“GMP did a fantastic job during the recent EDL protest. Their well-organised operation meant that the EDL could hold their distasteful and unwelcome protest, and most people in Manchester were none-the-wiser.
“However, on the day of the protest a member of the public contacted me on Twitter with the claim that GMP officers had demanded that Somali shopkeepers remove anti-EDL posters.
“They wouldn’t give me any more details, but I felt it was important to ask GMP to look into it. GMP confirmed that officers asked one shopkeeper to take down a poster relating to the demonstration.
“This should not have happened. The officers were acting on their own initiative in good faith, and believed they were doing their best to support the overall objective of preventing confrontation. But GMP recognises they got it wrong and have apologised.
“The police operation around the EDL protest was a complex one and this unfortunate incident shouldn’t take away from the great work the police did on the day.
“The police have been able to learn from this mistake and I’ve been assured it will not happen again.
“It is important that people have the right to protest, even when we find their views unpleasant. On the day of the protest, it was as important that the counter-demonstrators were able to have a protest peacefully. That demonstration was able to be good-natured and family-friendly as a result of the police operation.
“Most important of all, however, was that tens of thousands of Mancunians were able to exercise their right to go about their ordinary Saturday business – working, shopping and socialising. The EDL protest had little impact on the city centre and generated little publicity.”
Update: The “Northern Police Monitoring Project” have been in touch with us to point out they contacted Tony’s office about this matter the day before the protest. We’re happy to confirm they did so, although Tony didn’t see it until after the protest, and after the inquiries he carried out about this incident were completed.