A DEMONSTRATION against fascism outside Harrow Central Mosque descend into violence and ugly scenes as groups of young Asian men ran amok through Wealdstone.

Despite earlier calls for calm and peace from community and mosque leaders, hundreds chased people through the streets around the mosque and got into scuffles with police.

On The Bridge, close to Harrow and Wealdstone station, the baying crowd of predominantly Asian young men pelted officers in riot gear with rocks, sticks, glass bottles and in some cases, fireworks.

After being forced down from the bridge, the men chased people through the streets and tried to storm Harrow Civic Centre.

With some peacemakers among the crowd, the protesters began turning on each other, leading to angry scuffles and confusion across the streets of Wealdstone.

The violence broke out as thousands, lead by Unite Against Fascism (UAF), turned out to opposed a planned demonstration outside the mosque by a group called Stop the Islamisation of Europe.

However, the right-wing group failed to materialised, and with tensions high among the anti-fascist protesters, it soon became clear violence was not far away.

A group of six white men were spotted heading from the station to the mosque at around 5pm, but before they could make their intentions clear, they were chased by dozens of the protesters, some armed with sticks, through the civic centre car park.

They were headed off by police officers and returned to the main protest outside the mosque, which by this point had completely blocked Station Road, causing traffic chaos through the borough's roads.

As community leaders spoke at around 6pm, declaring the protest a success and a testimony to Harrow's cohesion and multi-cultural make-up, the protesters began running towards the station and to the eventual violent stand-off with police.

As protesters faced up to a police blockade in the civic centre car park, Navin Shah, assembly member for Brent and Harrow, and council leader David Ashton, condemned the violent clashes which had marred the protest.

Cllr Shah said: “This is a difficult, very painful, and unprecedented situation in Harrow.

“We have been telling all parties, members of UAF, and many mosque youth activists, that one thing we must not ever allow to happen is any form of aggression or violence.

“This was a worry throughout, and as the numbers started to grow, you could very clearly see a number of people entering with masks, people who did not appear to be from Harrow, and it only needed any kind of excuse for things to turn ugly.

“These kind of people don't belong to Harrow, they don't belong in any community which is built on unity and respecting each other.

“Harrow must remain a no-go area for any form of extremism, fascism, or violence.”

People remain on the streets around the mosque and the police remain in place to try to restore calm to the area.