This Post is Brought to you by Frank Lefty, of The Urbanite
So it looks like the EDL still managed to cause a disruption yesterday in East London but did not physically reach their intended target, Tower Hamlets. According to different sources online (dont you just love live blog updates) it is estimated that over a thousand EDL members from across the country descended into the east end. They managed to have a rally around the Moorgate area and the idiotic Stephen Lennon even managed to avoid police detection by dressing up as a rabbi (see video below and note how he states that the could not wait to "take this shit off". Says a lot about the EDL and their supposed love for Jews!)
After the rally, the EDL marched to Aldgate where they were prevented from crossing the border into Tower Hamlets by the police.
A counter protest against the EDL, led by groups such as Hope not Hate and Unite Against Fascism, took place on Whitechapel Rd and the police reportedly did a great job in separating the two groups and preventing a violence between the EDL and local British Asian youths. Minor scuffles did apparently break out and there was reportedly an incident on Mile End Rd when an EDL coach broke down:
All in all, the police made 16 arrests during the day for offences such as being drunk and disorderly, assaulting a police officer and affray. Later on in the evening 44 people on the coach shown above were arrested on suspicion of violent disorder.
So it does seem like a job well done for both the police and anti-fascist campaigners. But at what cost? It is clear that the Home Secretary's ban on the march had some effect in limiting the number of EDL protesters and preventing possible large scale violence.
But what is also clear is that the problem of the EDL will not go away by simply banning their marches. They managed to create fear and panic in the East End for the day, affecting local businesses and community relations. They also managed to waste a large amount of police time, at the taxpayer's expense, just so that they could get drunk and chant some unfunny, racist and plain stupid songs (for example, a favourite chant for EDL members is "Allah is a paedo". Allah is just the Arabic word for God. So God is a peado? Ok......
I still predict that the EDL will slowly wither away, but this will be a few year's down the line. In the meantime it looks like the EDL will continue to cause scenes like the ones seen on Saturday, whilst continuing to be a nuisance for the majority of us who just want to get on with our lives.