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East London public meeting pledges to defy the racists

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Waltham Forest has sent a message of defiance to the racist English Defence League (EDL), which plans to march in the east London borough next month.
Issue 2315
Waltham Forest anti-EDL meeting (Pic: Socialist Worker)
Waltham Forest anti-EDL meeting (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Waltham Forest has sent a message of defiance to the racist English Defence League (EDL), which plans to march in the east London borough next month.

Over 120 people packed into a We Are Waltham Forest public meeting on Tuesday of last week. They pledged to build the biggest possible counter demonstration and to prevent the EDL from taking to the streets.

Speakers included local Labour MP Stella Creasy, Weyman Bennett from Unite Against Fascism, and left wing author Owen Jones. They talked about how the EDL targets areas with Muslim populations and uses its demonstrations to spread hatred and fear.

The EDL has already flinched at the size of opposition to them in Waltham Forest. It has postponed its march from 18 August to 1 September.

“Let’s be clear,” Stella Creasy told the meeting. “We didn’t want them on the 18th, we don’t want them on the 1st—and we don’t want them at any time.”

Speakers from the audience celebrated multicultural London and described the way these traditions had been forged in struggle. All agreed that a massive counter protest on 1 September was crucial.

Chelmsford activists get organised

Anti-racists in Chelmsford, Essex, have been organising against plans by the English Defence League to march in the city on 18 August.

Trade unions, community groups and activists have set up a broad grassroots campaign, United Chelmsford, which is supported by Unite Against Fascism and Chelmsford TUC.

The EDL held a flash demo in the city last month. Around 30 turned up—and three were arrested for racially aggravated offences.

The racists are using plans to build a mosque in Chelmsford as a pretext for their demonstration. But Chelmsford residents do not oppose the proposed mosque.

“There has been no local campaign against the mosque,” Steve Collins from United Chelmsford told Socialist Worker. “The EDL are coming from outside to spread their hate.

“They’re trying to build confidence for their Waltham Forest march on 1 September. They probably see Chelmsford as a soft target—but we are organising to stop them.”

Join the United Chelmsford march on 18 August. Assemble 11.30am in Tindal Square, Chelmsford CM1 1LX

Mob targets Keighley

Around 150 drunken EDL thugs demonstrated in Keighley, West Yorkshire, on Saturday. The police, community leaders and councillors put huge pressure on local people to stay away from the town centre.

Some anti-fascists held a vigil at a local mosque. Others headed to the town centre to gather names of local people who wanted to build opposition to any future EDL presence.

Many local people gathered to shout insults at the EDL. They were furious that their taxes were being spent on a huge police presence to host a racist mob.

WDL thug beats daughter

A racist thug has been jailed for assaulting his own daughter because her boyfriend was black. David Champion, 50, grabbed his teenage daughter Jane by the hair and hit her. He hurled racist abuse at her boyfriend Alfonce Ncube.

Champion is a supporter of the English Defence League’s Welsh sister organisation. He was photographed on a Welsh Defence League demonstration in Swansea.

He was jailed this week for 12 months. His wife Frances Champion, who also attacked Jane on a separate occasion, was jailed for nine months.

Judge Peter Heywood at Swansea Crown Court called their actions “disgraceful”. He added that “these sorts of racist behaviour cannot be tolerated”.

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