ANTI-FASCIST campaigners outnumbered and drowned out a group of neo-Nazis from England who travelled to Edinburgh yesterday to support a planned protest by the Scottish Defence League.

Unite Against Fascism rallied 150 people in the capital to counter the “No Muslim Invasion” and “Refugees Not Welcome” slogans from the fascists.

Chanting “Refugees Welcome, Deport the Nazis”, the campaigners gathered at The Mound and marched to the City Chambers, where they heard speakers from the SNP, Labour, the Greens and Rise as well as from four different immigrant communities – Polish, Kurdish, Greek and Spanish.

The 50 fascists who gathered at Waverley Station did not have permission for a march but were escorted by police to the City Chambers, where they found they were drowned out by Unite Against Fascism, who had beaten them to the location.

“We had permission for a march and they didn’t but they effectively got one in the city centre, which is a sore point,” said counter-demonstration organiser Luke Henderson.

“However, we showed them we are the majority voice in Edinburgh and they are just an isolated extreme minority. We were there before them and we stayed longer and we made it clear that the city welcomes refugees and people from around the world.

“We were chanting ‘If you hate the Nazis, give us a wave’ and we got quite a few waves.”

Henderson said he did not think there were many Scots in the fascist group.

“I saw quite a few St George’s flags as well as Combat 18 and National Action, which are both openly fascist,” he said. “There were a couple from Nottingham and some from Newcastle and South Shields but not many from Scotland. We had a fairly blistering PA system and had one of the speakers pointed at them so we literally could not hear them – they were outnumbered and subdued.

“Our aim is to keep them small and marginalised. We are pretty much the only country in Europe where the far right are not big and we want to keep it that way; so we are trying to isolate them and make sure they don’t come back. They always get abuse from the anti-fascist movement up here and that keeps them small.”

Police Scotland said no arrests had been made during the protests.

“We can confirm that today’s marches and rallies in Edinburgh City Centre passed without notable incidents,” said Chief Inspector Bob Paris, local area commander for Central Edinburgh. “I would like to thank the wider public for their patience and hope that the minimal disruption during the events did not spoil their day.”

Yesterday’s events followed a 4,000-strong Refugees Welcome demonstration in Glasgow on Saturday.

“The numbers show that the people of Scotland retain a welcoming tradition despite the rhetoric of too many politicians,” said Henderson.

The first demonstration in Scotland planned by right-wing, anti-Islam group Pegida, also flopped on Saturday when only four members of the group, which originated in Germany, turned up for the event in Edinburgh. A Pegida demonstration attracted 400 supporters in Newcastle last month but they were again outnumbered by about 2,000 counter-demonstrators.