Julie Ward, Labour MEP for the North West, appeared at the community celebration event at the Flag Market today.Advertisement
She gave a passionate speech supporting multiculturalism to those gathered in the rain in response to the EDL protests.
Following her speech, she said: “It’s really important that Preston comes out to show it is a rich, tolerant, diverse and respectful city.
“People of all ages faiths and ethnicities have gathered today and shown that.
“That’s modern Britain, not these retrograde racists who have come here today.”
Between 80-100 EDL protesters gathered at Birley Street with a counter protest and community celebration event set up at the Flag Market.
The EDL protest lasted just short of two hours and Prestonians watched on as the EDL chanted ‘You’re not English anymore’ at passers-by.
The community celebration event resulted in a number of different mosques providing free food for visitors.
You can recap all of our live coverage from the day here.
Peter Rankin, leader of Preston City Council, said: “We’ve seen today exactly what Preston is about.
“One city and one community together. Our strength is what unites us. Our mutual respect and understanding is what makes us. And our willingness to live peacefully with each other is what helps us to be the proud city that we are.
“The message is clear. Preston’s communities stand together against any attempt to cause division or discord. I must pay tribute to the people of Preston and to everyone who has rallied round and all pulled together.
“I would also like to thank the Police for the simply outstanding job they have done policing the event. They are as much part of the community as we all our and Preston is stronger today as a result.
“Let’s just hope people respect our deep desire to get on with one another and let Preston be the proud city that it is.”