PROTESTERS clashed in Blackburn this evening after right wing speaker Tommy Robinson postponed his planned rally.

A group of around 30 people had gathered outside Ewood Park at 6pm for a 'Unity Rally' in protest of the MEP candidates visit.

They were led by the Blackburn Trade Union Council and several anti-racist and anti-fascist groups.

However, the counter-rally was disrupted by a group of Mr Robinson's supporters - including 'yellow vest' activist James Goddard - who said they had seen the trade union council gathering on the corner of Bolton Road and Livesy Branch Road.

Members of the two groups argued with each other, with the anti-racism protesters branding Mr Robinson an "extremist" and his supporters "fascists".

Speaking after the event, John Murphy, vice president of the Blackburn Trade Union Council, said: "I think we got a good reception from some of the people on the road.

"I think we got the message across that Blackburn doesn't want to host speakers of hate and people who are trying to sew division.

"One question we tried to get across is why is he trying to give in as an MEP to a parliament he has said he doesn't believe in?"

Lancashire Telegraph:

Mr Goddard, who is expected to appear in court later this month after pleading not guilty to charges of assaulting and threatening a journalist in relation to a rally Manchester in February, said he wanted to open a "dialogue" with the counter protesters.

He said: "We saw Stand Up to Racism and we thought we would enter into a bit of dialogue but they didn't want to talk."

Lancashire Telegraph:

There was also a police presence at the rally although there was no violence between the two sides.

The initial 'Unity Rally' was organised by Blackburn Trade Union Council, Blackburn and Darwen United Against Racism, Drive for Justice, Stand Up to Racism and United Against Fascism.