Socialist Worker

Racist EDL march flops in London

by Annette Mackin
Issue No. 2359

The planned march of the racist English Defence League (EDL) in London yesterday, Saturday, failed spectacularly when they were vastly outnumbered by anti-fascists.

EDL founders Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll were also arrested as they attempted to enter Tower Hamlets.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) called a counter demonstration to the EDL’s plans to march from Hyde Park to Westminster.

Some 250 anti-fascists assembled at Speakers Corner in Hyde Park at noon. Only 25 EDL supporters showed up and they scuttled away before their march was due to begin.

Nazeem from east London recently joined UAF in Newham. He told Socialist Worker, “I’ve come here to stand up to the EDL and show them as a Bangladeshi Muslim I dislike what is being said about us.

“People say to me, you shouldn’t get involved with anti-fascism, you’ll be labelled as a terrorist and I say to them, ‘I don’t care’.”

Pride

When it became clear that the EDL were off the streets of central London, UAF joint secretary Weyman Bennett announced that UAF would be joining the Pride march.

“In France Nazis have mass mobilisations against gay rights. That’s why we should go and join Pride. The Nazis did not pass. This is our London and we won’t allow fascists to divide us.”

Around a hundred anti-fascists staged a victory march down Oxford Street with chants of “The EDL are off our streets, we are joining Pride!”

Some shoppers cheered and joined the march. When the anti-fascists reached Pride cheers went up from those on the procession.

The EDL had planned to march from Hyde Park to Woolwich via Tower Hamlets and Newham to whip up race hatred.

Unity

UAF organised a unity in the community rally with United East End outside the London Muslim Centre in Tower Hamlets. Members of faith groups and trade unionists joined the rally.

A fight broke out amongst the EDL and Robinson and Carroll were then arrested for breaking the agreed march route from Hyde Park to Westminster.

After the rally in Hyde Park some trade unionists, anti war activists and others gathered signatures for UAF's unity statement on Green Street in Newham. Local shoppers queued to sign the petition.

Local resident Zamzan spoke to Socialist Worker, she said: “People need to stand up to the EDL, to show them that we're coming together as a community and we won't stand for them.

“We're all together and we all belong here, no matter what race we are”.


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