In the run up to the EDL demonstration we saw the march banned, we saw the EDL misrepresented and attacked in the press, we faced scaremongering from the far-Left and then, at the last minute, we were forced to change our plans due to the threat of strikes by the RMT Union.
And yet, despite all this, despite the efforts to sabotage our demonstration, and despite the frustrations that must have been felt, we managed to hold a peaceful protest. To everyone who attended – thank you.
Just two weeks after we embarrassed scaremongering local councilors in Telford by holding an entirely peaceful protest, we’ve once again proved that we have no desire to cause trouble, just a desire to exercise our democratic right to protest.
There will be some critics who will continue to point to the efforts of the police as the only reason why there was only very few minor incidents. It is important to remember that alongside them, EDL Stewards did a fantastic job keeping an eye out for any potential trouble makers, and handed a couple of individuals over to the police.
But in battling to ensure a peaceful protest our focus was not on the need to control any unruly EDL supporters. Instead, our main focus was on combating the ludicrious (and dangerous) fabrications being spread by far-Left activists, fascists and radical Muslims: claims that we were intending to assault Muslims, that we were telling our supporters to attack Mosques, etc, etc.Behind the scenes we worked to disprove these accusations, and up and down the country our Division Leaders made sure that no one was under any illusions that our intentions would be anything other than peaceful.
If these accusations had any grounding in reality, we would have hoped that those making them would have informed the police, rather than incite trouble. As it happened, the police did receive intelligence that suggested that there might be parties in attendance who were intent on violence. But what the BBC, for one, may have failed to make clear was that these parties were not on the EDL side. No wonder Scotland Yard’s National Co-ordinator for Domestic Extremism, Adrian Tudway, recently stated that the EDL are not extreme, and that Muslim groups would do well to engage with us.
Perhaps if they understood some of the reasons why we were in Tower Hamlets, then hostility from the Muslim community could be avoided. Dialogue, as we will continue to say, is far more effective at ensuring ‘community cohesion’ than listening to provocateurs who claim that the only reasons we demonstrate are to divide communities, ‘spread hatred’, or incite violence. What an offensive thing to claim and, ironically, what an effective way of encouraging conflict.
The ability to exercise our democratic right to peaceful protest, in the face of people who would rather it were taken away, is of particular importance. Large numbers did come out in opposition to the EDL demonstration, but there will always be those who oppose freedom, or who are deceived by manipulative radical activists. Of the individuals present at the counter-demonstration, there was at least one man who may have had good reasons for opposing the EDL demonstration. He was Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman – the man sacked from the Labour Party because of his links with Islamic extremists, and a friend of UAF head Red Ken Livingstone. That a known extremist was able to play a part in the counter-EDL demonstrations says a great deal about what it was the UAF and other groups were there to oppose, and the fact that he is the mayor of the borough also says a great deal about the government’s failure to address radical Islam!
It appears that when it comes to ‘uniting against fascism’, the UAF have a bit of a blind spot for real fascism, preferring instead to promise to ‘smash’ those organisations that are dedicated to opposing extremism. It’s possibly time they looked up the word ‘fascism’ in a dictionary.
Despite the inevitable threats, encouraged by hateful and deceitful campaigns run by the ‘surprisingly-fascist’ far-Left, around 1,500 EDL supporters were not deterred and strode proudly into East London. For these supporters, it was important that our protest against radical Islam was not swept under the carpet, and that our voices were not silenced. Again, thank you.
Seeing as our supporters had gathered all over central London from as early as 9 in the morning, there wouldn’t have been many visitors to the capital who would have failed to hear the EDL and our message. Liverpool Street and Kings Cross stations were the two main gathering points and a tremendous noise was made at both, especially Kings Cross. God Save the Queen was belted out, loudly and proudly , on more than one occasion. Onlookers were eager to film us and tourists were delighted to finally see a bit of English culture in multicultural London. The last minute changes brought about by the RMT’s threat to close down stations caused some confusion at first, but the threat turned out to be an empty one with Tube staff being all too happy to assist us, and even giving us sole use of a platform at Kings Cross station in the run-up to the demonstration.
In the blistering heat, many bottles of water were visible and anti-extremists from across Europe converged on Aldgate. Flags were flying high: St George Crosses, Scottish Saltires, Union Flags, LGBT Rainbow flags, Stars of David and many more. Pleasantries were exchanged and the mood was a positive one: efforts to silence us had failed, and were ready to make clear our opposition to radical Islam and the government’s current ineffectual approach to dealing with it. The police was more relaxed than we might have expected, and did not feel it necessary to wear their riot helmets.
Tommy emerged from his cunning disguise, to give the following speech:
The world’s media were watching, and we’re certain that Tommy’s subsequent imprisonment will send shockwaves around the world.
Kevin Carroll’s speech is also well worth a watch. In it he makes clear that our opposition is to radical or extremist Islam and that it is Sharia Law (and certainly not the EDL) that is ‘sick’. He also reaffirms our belief in Israel’s right to defend itself, thanks the police for the role they played, and reminds everyone of the importance of leaving peacefully:
As the protest came to an end, the EDL supporters were true to Kev’s wishes and left peacefully. We were escorted away from the demonstration via the iconic Tower Bridge; making for a spectacular sight. Hours of containment in extraordinary heat, with no access to toilet facilities or water, were beginning to take their toll. But unlike other protests that have taken place recently in London, we just got on with it, without feeling the need to riot (unlike Muslim youths last year), or cause any criminal damage (unlike the ‘protestors’ during the recent riots). We’re particularly thankful to the staff of Bet Fred, who helped us with water supplies and allowed us to use their toilets (and in return we resisted the urge to loot anything).
We had our demonstration, we talked to local people, we paraded around central London, and everyone was then ready leave and go home. Peacefully. The only unpleasantness at the Telford demonstration had come when Muslim youths had attacked a small party of EDL supporters. Unfortunately, exactly the same thing happened in Tower Hamlets.
When the story first broke, some media outlets described the scene as follows: ‘a fight broke out between local Muslim youths and EDL supporters when an EDL coach stopped outside a mosque. 44 EDL supporters were arrested.’ The insinuation was clear: EDL supporters had provoked a fight by traveling to a mosque, and had engaged in a violent altercation for which they were arrested.
However, then the evidence started to appear. Firstly, the coach did not stop outside the mosque intentionally, it broke down. The Daily Mail did manage to at least get this detail right, but they did stick to their preoccupation with race by calling the attackers ‘Asians’ (isn’t that racist?). Secondly, the bus did not intentionally head towards the mosque. The driver was not an EDL supporter, but a hired driver tasked with taking the EDL supporters home.
The Nottingham Division, whose bus it was, have released a statement about the incident which you can read here. The third point to make clear is that EDL supporters did not engage in any violence. They were taken into protective custody after being shepherded onto a replacement double-decker bus by the police. What actually happened is that the EDL supporters’ bus was attacked by violent Muslim thugs, who not only pelted the windows with whatever objects they could find, but managed to force open the rear emergency exit and drag out a female EDL supporter, who was then savagely beaten as she lay helplessly on the floor:
With the EDL supporters on the coach not immediately aware of what had happened, a brave policeman and passer-by helped her to escape from the mob (contrary to claims by Muslim radicals the Islamic Forum of Europe that it was actually their supporters who helped the injured woman). As yet, we do not believe any any of the perpetrators have been arrested. Of course, all of the 44 EDL members arrested were soon released without charge, but that did not stop certain media outlets (yes, the Daily Mail again) using grossly inflated arrest figures to suggest that it had been the EDL committing criminal acts. In total, there were a further 16 arrests over the course of the day. From the footage available, we’d suggest that there are more than 16 Muslim youths who deserve to be arrested for attacking the EDL coach. Compare this with arrests that were predominately for drunk and disorderly conduct (which is certainly shameful, but not quite in the same league), and you have a far more accurate picture of the day’s events.
Of course, the far-Left couldn’t possibly have brought themselves to condemn the attackers, so they immediately tried to find a reason to justify their actions. Some did not wait long. This UAF supporter didn’t worry too much about justification, and immediately began laughing with delight:
Uniting against fascism, but not uniting against violent attacks on women apparently.
Since then, the alleged justifications have become marginally more sophisticated. According to some internet sources the woman in question was a racist. Even if this were based on solid evidence, would it really mean that she deserved to be attacked!? And if she were a racist, why on earth would she have been supporting the EDL? Racism is something we’ve campaigned against since the beginning, and is completely contrary to the objectives listed in our mission statement. Of course, if it did turn out that this woman, Jo, held extremist views, then she would no longer be welcome at our demonstrations. But we’re yet to see any compelling evidence of that. Instead, it seems more likely that those who were so loathe to condemn the attack simply could not resist an opportunity to kick her when she’s down. Again.
Wishing you a speedy recovery Jo.
We know we don’t need to tell our supporters not to respond to violence with more violence. We all know that extremism cannot be fought with extremism, and that the only way to defeat radical Islam is to wake up more and more people to the nature of the threat, gain the support of our government, and ensure that the Muslim community initiates the series of reforms that are needed to free it from the ever-tightening grasp of the radicals.
EDL supporters behaved admirably in Tower Hamlets, despite much provocation. To all who attended, one last time – thank you. You are a credit to yourselves and to your country.
Our voices were heard, our right to peaceful was protected and, for a while at least, we reclaimed the streets.
To anyone who somehow harboured any doubts, it should now be undeniable: we are the English Defence League, and we will never surrender to radical Islam.