Saturday's demonstrations by the English Defence League and Unite Against Fascism in Birmingham city centre could have had a damaging impact

Jerry Blackett, chief executive of Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, said: “Retail sales contribute an estimated £3.1 million to Birmingham’s economy per day.

“It’s not possible to know what reduction to trading was caused by Saturday’s demonstrations but at this stage in the fragile economic recovery, we can’t afford any loss of trade, no matter how small.

“There is also the importance of Birmingham’s reputation, which has been transformed in recent years into a popular leisure destination.

“As the largest city outside of London, Birmingham will always be a centre for demonstrations.

"While the right to free speech must be upheld, we need to do all we can to make sure this is exercised in a responsible and safe way.”

Three people were taken to hospital after the demonstrations, attended by a total of more than 2,000 protesters and policed by around 1,000 officers. Twenty arrests were made on the day.

The EDL rally took place in Centenary Square after supporters had gathered in Bar Risa on Broad Street.

The counter-protest organised by Unite Against Fascism, which included supporters of the Muslim Defence League and the English Disco Lovers, was based on the other side of Paradise Circus in Chamberlain Square.

One of those hurt, a police officer hit by a brick, was treated in hospital and later discharged.

At one point during a stand-off between EDL supporters and officers wearing riot gear, police dogs were deployed to quell an attempt to break through police lines into a building site.

Officers were also showered with broken glass, pieces of slate and other objects after EDL supporters, some wearing balaclavas, confronted police near the Hyatt Regency hotel.

The EDL rally was classified as a “static protest”, meaning neither the police or council could stop it.

But community campaigner Desmond Jaddoo, leader of the Birmingham Empowerment Forum, called for a tightening of the law to ensure the group could not return again.

“I called on Birmingham’s ten MPs and police commissioner Bob Jones to review what is a static process and the implications of having the right to do it,” he said.

“I was at the police line of the protest when the EDL came down.

EDL supporters confront police in Centenary Square
EDL supporters confront police in Centenary Square
 

“They rushed the police and tried to get through. This is not a static protest and the law needs to clarify what is and how many people can take part.

“There were 2,000 EDL members and they marched down part of Broad Street.

“The cost to the city and damage done through lost business and police funding should also be looked at.

“We didn’t want this in our city. Our MPs have to start listening to the people of Birmingham. But we got through it with minimal disruption.”

The EDL members were contained in Bar Risa, in Broad Street, before their rally began.

Broad Street manager Mike Olley said that, although there were more protesters than expected, the event was “largely peaceful”.

Two bars, Walkabout and O Bar, as well as restaurant Jimmy Spices, had windows broken.

But Mr Olley said the Birmingham Chilli Festival, held in nearby Brindleyplace, was not affected, with numbers “buoyant”.

“With the exception of the mindless vandalism that took place, and of course the noise, it was largely peaceful,” he said.

“The strange thing was the juxtaposition of the Chilli Festival and the protest.

“They were so close but the festival was not affected at all.

“I headed around there at about 1pm and there were a lot of people – it was very buoyant.

“At the top of Broad Street, Cineworld reported a quieter day but the Revolution venue had a strong hen party presence.

“After the protesters had gone, Bar Risa staff were cleaning up, and they had a few sticky floors to contend with. But it was back to business as usual.

“I left Broad Street at about 7pm and the usual crowds of hens and stag parties were emerging.

“The street seemed like it was back to normal – a usual Saturday night.

“It reshaped itself very quickly.”