Anti-fascists could deal a hammer blow to the seriously damaged English Defence League (EDL) when it attempts to march in north east London on Saturday.
Home secretary Theresa May agreed on Tuesday to a police request for a ban on all marches in the area. So it is more important than ever for anti-fascists to come to Walthamstow.
The EDL is banned from marching, but it will still be able to hold a static rally. They must be opposed by as many people as possible.
The fascists were humiliated when they tried to march in Walthamstow on 1 September. Anti-racists brought together by We Are Waltham Forest and Unite Against Fascism (UAF) put 4,000 people on the streets. They stopped the 200 EDL supporters who tried to march.
The defeat threw the organisation into crisis, leading to splits. Its desperate leader Tommy Robinson promised to return this weekend and march through Walthamstow by “uniting the right”.
We are Waltham Forest and UAF called another counter-protest. Local activist Norma Dudley said, “I’m marching because if we don’t stop the EDL it will have an insidious effect on our multicultural society.
“Waltham Forest is a really vibrant place and we don’t need the destructive misery caused by racism and fascism.”
The EDL was thrown into further disarray last Saturday. Its leaders, including Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll, were arrested with 51 others as they apparently travelled to attack a mosque in east London.
Weyman Bennett, joint chair of UAF, told Socialist Worker, “This gives the lie to the EDL’s claim that it wants to demonstrate peacefully. In reality it just wants to attack Muslims and others.”
Robinson had tweeted “It’s death, prison or glory” two days before his arrest. He has now been remanded in custody.
Robinson is charged with entering the US on a false passport and will appear in court again in January. He went to New York in September to speak at the racist “Stop Islamization of America” conference.
Mike Killian of Manchester UAF said, “Robinson and Carroll have been arrested, but we’re still coming down to protest against the racists. The last Walthamstow demo seriously hurt the EDL and if we all come we can finally nail down the lid of its coffin.”
Anti-fascists in Waltham Forest have been campaigning for thousands to join the march from across Britain this Saturday. They gave out 15,000 leaflets on the TUC demo against austerity last Saturday as well as keeping up stalls in east London.
Despite their latest setbacks, the EDL says it will march and show a racist film. The racists have chosen the Muslim holiday of Eid Al-Adha—when many people will be celebrating with their families.
But if they think they won’t have to face as much opposition as last time they have misunderstood how people feel. Irfan Aktar of the Waltham Forest Council of Mosques told Socialist Worker, “It would be great if they don’t come, but if they do we’re prepared and ready for them.”
Assemble at Walthamstow Town Square (at the top of the High Street), London E17, 11am, Saturday 27 October. Go to uaf.org.uk