Socialist Worker

We opposed the EDL wherever it went

Issue No. 2375

Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson at a press conference last week

Former EDL leader Tommy Robinson (right) at a press conference last week (Pic: Guy Smallman)


The English Defence League was formed in June 2009 to target Muslims. Racists in Scotland and Wales set up their own “defence leagues”.

Thugs who would become the EDL had rampaged through Luton in April and May. 

But hundreds joined a Unite Against Fascism (UAF) counter-protest against them in Birmingham in August.

In January 2010 over 1,200 EDL supporters rioted in Stoke. A UAF counter-protest drew 500 anti-fascists. 

In March over 3,000 anti-fascists outnumbered 800 EDL thugs in Bolton, despite heavy police tactics.

The EDL boasted it could get 5,000 to a protest in Newcastle in May—it barely got 800. Some 1,000 joined a UAF counter-protest. 

A 5,000-strong UAF protest humiliated the racists in Tower Hamlets, east London, in June—the EDL cancelled their demo.

In August the EDL tried to pull off “the big one”—a protest in Bradford. Around 1,500 anti-fascists outnumbered less than 1,000 thugs.

Some 2,500 EDL supporters descended on Luton in February 2011, opposed by 5,000 anti-racists.

In April 2,000 EDL thugs protested in Blackburn while 1,000 anti-fascists opposed them. A 2,000-strong UAF protest outnumbered 200 EDL supporters in Cambridge in July.

Only 600 racists showed up to protest in Tower Hamlets in September, opposed by thousands. They didn’t enter the borough.

Some 2,000 marched with UAF in Luton in May 2012 against a few hundred EDL.

Some 4,000 anti-fascists humiliated 200 racists in Waltham Forest, east London, in September.

The EDL hoped to revive its fortunes after the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in May this year. Around 1,000 joined a protest in central London soon after the murder.

But subsequent attempts to mobilise failed.

Last month the EDL failed a third time to enter Tower Hamlets. Over 5,000 people joined a UAF protest and kept 500 EDL supporters out of the borough.


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