THE demonstration outside a Harrow mosque on Friday has been hailed as a “victory against fascists” by organisers.

Around 2,000 people packed the streets outside Harrow Central Mosque for a “solidarity vigil” organised by Unite Against Fascism.

Weyman Bennett, joint secretary of UAF, said after the demonstration: “Today in Harrow was a victory for everyone who wants to defend our multicultural society from racists and fascists.

“The English Defence League and other groups of bigots wanted to march on a mosque and chant ‘Muslims out’.

“Instead they were kept away because ordinary people from all backgrounds turned out in solidarity with Harrow’s Muslim community.”

Mr Bennett attempted to gloss over violent scuffles that broke out in the Wealdstone streets when around a dozen men turned up to support the anti-mosque demo, which had been organised by Stop the Islamisation of Europe (SIOE).

Scores of young Asian men chased the group back to Harrow and Wealdstone station, leading to a stand-off with police who had formed a protective ring around the men who had been chased.

As hundreds of UAF supporters spilled out into Station Road, pandemonium broke out as protesters, some armed with sticks, rampaged up the road and began attacking riot police, throwing stick, rocks, glass bottles, and firecrackers.

Mr Bennett's statement said: “While the anti-fascist rally was for the most part peaceful and good natured, there were sporadic clashes when small groups of racists attempted to get near the mosque.

“The racists were chased off by groups of Muslim youths, leading to occasional clashes with police.

"UAF believes the blame for these incidents lies firmly with the racists trying to intimidate Muslims, not with the youths trying to protect their community.”

Harrow politicians condemned the violence afterwards, and insisted the message of solidarity and peace had been heard loud and clear by those who opposed the unity of the Harrow community.

It is understood one of the leading members of SIOE, Stephen Gash, was arrested by police in Harrow, before he got to the mosque, to avoid a breach of the peace.

A message on the group's website said their demonstrators were stopped from holding a protest by “more than 1,000 mainly Muslims”, adding: “The police could not handle the muslim counter demonstraters. The senior sergent said that he didn’t want any of his policemen killed.”

Ten people were arrested during the course of the day in Wealdstone, nine for possession of offensive weapons and one for breach of the peace.