Far-right march in Liverpool blocked by left-wingers, police arrest 12 after clashes (VIDEO, PHOTOS)

Riot police had to step in to prevent violence in Liverpool, as left activists barred the far-right English Defence League (EDL) movement from holding a rally in the city’s center. At least 12 people were arrested amid clashes between the two groups.

An EDL “National Demo” was scheduled to take place in the Liverpool city center at 1:30pm local time Saturday. A large number of riot vans, police officers, including mounted and canine units were deployed to the city center to prevent possible violence between far-right and far-left activists.

EDL members started to gather in a pub on London Road at noon, while anti-fascist protesters gathered with a purpose to confront them.

Far left activists blocked the road to prevent EDL members from holding their rally.

Riot police had to step in as the situation got heated, when the two groups with polarized political views propelled projectiles of sorts at each other, namely bottles, tomatoes and bananas. Firecracker explosions were reportedly heard at the scene. At least 12 people were arrested over various offences during the clashes, according to the police.

“Following a number of arrests for public order offences and increasing animosity between both groups the decision was made to disperse those involved in the EDL procession in the interests of the safety of those working, living and visiting the city center. At some points members of the left wing were seen to throw darts and flares were also activated,” the Liverpool Echo newspaper quoted Deputy Chief Constable Carl Foulkes as saying.

The EDL was effectively unable to hold its planned march, and the group eventually was escorted by police to the nearby Lime Street train station, where officers directed EDL members to get on trains, while taking away others by buses.

READ MORE: Tense stand-off in London as police separate far-right & anti-fascist protesters (VIDEO, PHOTOS)