The English Defence League staged a protest outside of Chelmsford Crown Court.

The far-right group were waved banners and flags in protest against "grooming gangs".

The protest came as three men were due to appear in court on child sexual exploitation charges.

Mohammed Rosatami, 34, and Amin Kaveh, 33 both of The Renown, Shoeburyness and Asadollah Zare, 39 of of Cowpar Mews, Braintree appeared in court via videa link. 

All three are charged with conspiracy to supply a class B drug Methdrone; Asadollah Zare is also charged with possession of another person’s identity documents (two passports).

Their next court appearance will be on July 13 for a plea and case management at Basildon Crown Court.

Steve Collins, of United Chelmsford, a group which has previously marched against the EDL, said: "The purpose of their protest was to spread their message of hatred and racism to any who would listen.

"United Chelmsford understand that cases of sexual abuse occurs in all community's regardless of religion or ethnicity.

"We have seen sexual abuse committed by TV personalities and MP's and the Catholic churches history is now well known. Yet the EDL remained silent during the prosecution of all these cases.

"They have not protested outside any similar cases in Chelmsford since previous cases have not involved a member from an ethnic minority.

"United Chelmsford stand for an inclusive and tolerant society free from race hatred and the scapegoating of minorities we believe the victims of these crimes deserve to be treated with compassion and respect and not used as pawns in the political landscape of fascist politics.

"It was with this in mind we made the decision together with other anti racist groups in Essex not to counter demonstrate outside Chelmsford crown court."

An Essex Police spokesman said: "Essex Police were aware that protests planned to take place in Chelmsford on Monday. 

"Officers were deployed in the town from around 8am in anticipation of the arrival of protesters. 

"A small number of protesters gathered in New Street at around 8.30am and officers ensured the event was facilitated peacefully. 

"The protest concluded without incident by 12pm."

The Weekly News contacted the EDL for comment on June 29 but has yet to get a response.