THE leader of Dudley Council has condemened today's "pointless" protests, which are expected to have cost borough taxpayers a further £150,000.

Councillor Anne Millward,said: “We are extremely saddened that Dudley has again been targeted by the English Defence League. Yet again this group of outside extremists have shown they are incapable of demonstrating peacefully and have brought public disorder and violence to our town.

“While the number of EDL protesters was significantly fewer than their protest in April, those that did come appeared to be intent on causing trouble.

“I hope the drop in numbers from around 1,500 to less than 500 is a result of more people seeing the EDL for what they are and recognising that they have no place in Dudley and make no positive contribution to local issues."

Mrs Millward added: "Dudley Council does not have the powers to ban this protest but we have made it clear from the outset that we are opposed to the EDL and have worked closely with the police to do all we could to protect, reassure and support local people.

“People from all backgrounds across Dudley get on well together and I am sad that many have felt intimidated and had their weekend affected by these outside extremists.

“Honest, hard working people who run local shops and businesses have again been hit as hard as anyone by the EDL’s pointless protest. While we were encouraged to see some open for business, many were again forced to close for the day.

“The local authority fully share their frustrations and expect the protest will have again cost the council in excess of £150,000. This was the same when the EDL protested in April and is clearly a complete waste of local taxpayers money.”