EDL march restricted to outskirts of Tower Hamlets

English Defence League. Pic: Eastlondonlines

English Defence League. Pic: Eastlondonlines


Today, in a surprise move the English Defence League (EDL) took a case to the High Court seeking a judicial review of the police’s decision to restrict their protest, but the decision was upheld by the courts.

The Metropolitan Police have allowed a controversial far-right protest by the English Defence League to go ahead in east London tomorrow, 7 September, but it has been restricted to the “outskirts of Tower Hamlets” rather than the centre of the borough according to reports from both the police and the EDL.

In court the EDL lawyers argued that these restrictions, which mean that the protests will be held on the edge the borough near Tower Bridge, were “disproportionate”. However, Mr Justice King said that the EDL had not shown the police decision to be “unlawful, irrational, unreasonable or disproportionate,” and the protest will be restricted.

The Tower Hamlet’s Mayor’s office has been resisting the march all summer, but an application to ban the march to the Home Secretary and to the High Court were both rejected. In August Mayor Lutfur Rahman signed an open letter to the Home Secretary calling for the march to be banned along with dozens of other political figures and local campaign groups.

On Wednesday this week the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali called for an outright ban on extremist marches after the Metropolitan Police agreed that the protest from far-right group the English Defence League (EDL) could go ahead.

She said: “We will of course appeal for calm and provide reassurance to the local community but I think it’s very concerning that the police have not tried to introduce an outright ban on the march.

“Everyone knows the EDL is not there to have a peaceful demonstration. They are there to stoke up fear, hatred and violence”.

“Thousands” of anti-fascist campaign groups have also pledged to counter-protest  the EDL tomorrow.

On Wednesday, Chief Superintendent Jim Read said: “We will adopt a robust arrest policy on anyone who attends and is intent on violence and disorder, or is in breach of these conditions.”


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