Socialist Worker

EDL ‘big one’ is a big flop

Issue No. 2268

EDL thugs never managed to get to Tower Hamlets (Pic: Russell Wood/ )

EDL thugs never managed to get to Tower Hamlets (Pic: Russell Wood/

The English Defence League (EDL) was humiliated last Saturday. Thousands of anti-fascist protesters kept some 600 racist thugs out of Tower Hamlets.

For months the EDL’s leadership hyped up their assault on Tower Hamlets as “the big one”.

But as one meeting place after another rejected it through the week, EDL groups around Britain cancelled coaches. But the thugs who did come were as offensive as ever.

They attacked shoppers, anti-fascists and journalists at Liverpool Street station. One thug kept shouting, “We don’t want any more foreigners.”

Over 100 anti-racists gathered at the station to confront them.

EDL supporters made Nazi sieg heil salutes. Some told a woman wearing a headscarf, “Fuck off, Muslim bitch.” She stood her ground, supported by anti-racists.

Liam and Sue arrived at the station from Gravesend to join the protest against the EDL.

Liam, who is disabled, told Socialist Worker, “When they saw me they started shouting ‘spastic’. They were laughing and pointing fingers at us.


“They are Nazis, no matter what they say. They oppose anyone who doesn’t fit in to their sick world view.”

EDL supporters chanted Islamophobic and racist slogans and hurled thunderflash noise “grenades”, while the police looked on.

Police had agreed to escort the EDL to a “static protest” since their march was banned. Officers took them through the back streets to Aldgate tube.

Here, EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka Tommy Robinson, came on stage dressed as a Jewish rabbi. He removed the hat and beard and said, “You know how long I’ve been waiting to take this shit off?”

His appearance breached bail conditions—he has been convicted of “threatening and abusive behaviour”. But police allowed him to give most of his speech before arresting him.

On Monday he was remanded in custody.

After his arrest, police surrounded the racist rabble and escorted them through the mostly empty streets to their transport at Tower Bridge.

A final humiliation came as a coach broke down on Whitechapel Road. Thugs on board abused local people.

In retaliation people smashed the coach’s windows—and the police had to bustle the scared racists onto police transport.

Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.