THE Deputy Lord Mayor of Oxford has criticised anti-fascist campaigners for an “unruly” protest against a far right group at the city’s war memorial.

Liberal Democrat Tony Brett said the Unite Against Fascism demo in St Giles showed “hate” to a planned event by the English Defence League (EDL).

The EDL planned a wreath laying at 1pm on Saturday for “fallen hero” Drummer Lee Rigby, killed in an alleged terror attack in Woolwich on May 22.

The Oxford Mail attended from 12.45pm to 1.15pm and no wreaths were layed. There was no apparent EDL presence except for about 30 protesters.

Oxford City Council member Mr Brett said the protesters “jeered” at people and "floral tributes were squashed and badly damaged".

There was “no sign” of EDL banners, clothing or “behaviour” he said, adding: “What I saw was a loud and unruly bunch who were showing hate towards what seemed to me to be a peaceful and lawful act of remembrance.”

He said on his blog: “If I do see any hate activity from any group in Oxford I will challenge it rigorously but the only hate I saw today was from the protesters.”

Unite Against Fascism branch treasurer Tracy Walsh said it feared the EDL would use the event as a “smokescreen for their anti-Islamic views”.

Adding she did not see anyone damage the flowers, she said: “We were very mindful of the fact that it was a war memorial.”

Flowers were on the Oxford cenotaph but there was no reference to the EDL on them.

The EDL had organised similar events around the UK yesterday. It was not available for comment.

A small number of police attended the demonstration but stood at a distance and did not intervene.