A massive police presence ensured a far Right march in Dewsbury went off peacefully.

Officers threw a cordon around the town for the rally by Britain First on Saturday.

And a counter-demonstration just yards away also passed without incident.

But councillors and traders were angry that the disruption had hit vital weekend trade.

Apart from onlookers, the centre was virtually empty for several hours. Roads were blocked off so the marchers could be escorted along a short route from the rail station to the town hall and back.

Video thumbnail, Police arrive in Dewsbury for Britain First demo
Video Loading

Kirklees council leader David Sheard said: “It’s not what any of us would want. Crucial trade has been lost and for what?”

Residents were later thanked by the authorities for ensuring the event came to a peaceful conclusion.

Around 120 Britain First members protested near Old Town Hall Street while around 80 counter protesters attended a separate event on Long Causeway.

No arrests were made at either demonstration.

Britain First rally in Dewsbury the counter demonstration. Photo by Mike Clark

Chief Supt Steve Cotter from Kirklees Police said: “I thank residents for their calm and considered response and traders and businesses for their support.

“We have worked hard with partners to keep road closures and disruption to a minimum.”

Clr Sheard said: “The police, council and the community have once again worked hard to keep people safe and minimise disruption.

“Local people and businesses stayed calm and behaved with dignity. It’s not easy for them to stand by and watch people who don’t care about them coming into Dewsbury showing their disrespect. Once again we have shown that as a community we stand tall and proud and nothing can change that.”

Britain First’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen said: “We are very disciplined and don’t go anywhere to cause trouble. We have a strict code of conduct.

“It is our right to protest and 2016 is going to be one of relentless activity for us.”

Not so happy were some Dewsbury traders. One, Karen Wood of Cardland, said business on Saturday was ‘dire’.

Dewsbury West councillor Mumtaz Hussain said the Muslim community – especially the young – had been asked to stay away from the town centre.

“I am pleased with the way the community responded,” he said.

Britain First rally in Dewsbury the counter demonstration. Photo by Mike Clark