Five people arrested at opposing immigration rallies in Croydon

South East Alliance protesters surrounded by policemen; Pic – @Tom__Matthews on Twitter 

Five people were arrested during two opposing immigration rallies in East Croydon on Saturday (May 6).

The initial rally – which had an estimated 40 attendees – was organised by right wing, anti-immigration group South East Alliance, and took place outside Lunar House in East Croydon, the Home Office’s HQ for UK Visas and Immigration.

The opposing rally was organised by United Against Facism and PCS in response to the South East Alliance’s protest. It has been estimated that around 400 people turned up for the second gathering in the George Street area. Both rallies lasted around three hours.

Various fights broke out between the two rival protests, which resulted in a total of five arrests.

Protesters stand against line of policemen; Pic – @jennselby on Twitter

The Met police told Eastlondonlines: “Members of the South East Alliance held a planned anti-immigration protest in Croydon town centre outside Lunar House, Wellesley Road. A group of counter demonstrators from anti-fascist movements were also present. Both groups were policed by a proportionate pre-planned operation. There have been five arrests and no injuries have been reported.”

A heavy line of police at the scene separated the two groups in an attempt to stop the two conflicting protests from clashing. However videos and images from the event show aggressive chanting, shouting and scuffles occurring between protesters on either side.  The scuffles have been reported as ‘minor’ and no injuries were reported.

Jennifer Selby, who was at the protest, told Eastlondonlines: “The anti-fascist protestors outnumbered the South East Alliance by about 300 to 30 on the day. The Movement For Justice campaign’s idea was to drown out their anti-immigration speech and to stop them smoothly being able to gain new recruits. They did that by tailing the police-protected fascist protestors for the entire journey from East Croydon station to Lunar House.”

Selby said: “There was a little violent trouble in the end. At the beginning of the march, some of the anti-fascist protestors did try to break through police lines to confront the SEA and smoke bombs were thrown. Other than this, though, it was a peaceful demonstration.”

Signs being held by the South East Alliance brandished slogans including ‘Say no to sharia’ and ‘Immigration ruined our NHS and social housing.’ On its website, the South East Alliance describes itself as a: “Pro British pro-English street movement,” who: “Promote British/English values, and believe immigration is wrong for Britain.”

Selby said: “The highlight for many was when a group of local residents turned up with a boom box on wheels and blasted Stormzy’s Shut Up. Outside Lunar House, it turned into a mini street rave, as anti-fascists made more noise than the SEA and made their speeches almost completely inaudible.

“There was a high number of police present during the march. They did an excellent job at keeping everyone safe while still allowing protesters the right to say their part.”

The protest follows the attack of a Kurdish Iranian asylum seeker Reker Ahmed, who was attacked in Croydon at the beginning of April. Ahmed was left with a fractured spine and bleeding to the brain and was then put in an induced coma after being attacked by more than 30 people at a Croydon bus stop.


Leave a Reply