EDL March in London
Protesters representing the English Defense League gathered in London’s East End on Saturday and were cordoned off by police to prevent violence with counter-protesters who gathered nearby.
I grabbed my camera and caught the tube to see for myself how an anti-Islamic, anti-immigration rally was going to play out in one of the most ethnically-diverse neighbourhoods of London.
The first signs of trouble were police, police, police everywhere. They were dressed in full riot gear, not taking any chances after the infamous London riots of a month before when the London Metropolitan Police (Met) were criticized for being caught flatfooted.
Police kept everyone away from the English Defense League, a citizen’s movement
that claims to welcome all races and genders in its fight against Islamic
fundamentalism, though I saw very few EDL members who weren’t white males.
I was able to get close enough to speak to an EDL member who hadn’t joined the
main demonstration. He said he was a veteran of the Falkland’s War and joined the
EDL because he felt his country was no longer British. The middle-aged man saidhe
came from the north of England to protest in East London, the heartland of
multi-culturalism in this country.
On the opposite side, the counter protesters had gathered to wave banners and
shout anti-fascist slogans, though the police kept them too far away for the EDL to
Many were Middle Eastern but there were lots of Europeans as well, and
from the shirts they wore and the signs they waved they appeared to be a mix of
left-wing activists, anarchists, and normal East Londoners opposed to the EDL
using their community to gain national attention.
The EDL were given a few hours to demonstrate before being herded back to their buses, most of them being from outside the city. I was right along the route and caught a few photos of them as they marched.
It took 3,000 police to keep this demonstration from turning violent and must have cost taxpayers millions of pounds. Seems like a high price to pay to give a extremist group their day in the spotlight.