Tuesday 21 May 2019

People were struck by the poor turnout at the Britain First and English Defence League march, but police were taking no chances

By Prudence Wade

Unite Against Fascism staged a counter-protest.

Today a march and rally planned by Britain First and the English Defence League (EDL) – described as a “march against terrorism” – took place in London near a counter demonstration from Unite Against Fascism (UAF).

Tensions ran high particularly when ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson arrived, surrounded by a swarm of police officers.

In fact, trouble was so highly anticipated for the event that there was a huge police presence.

Scotland Yard said on Friday that the information and intelligence available to the Met meant that they felt it necessary to impose the conditions to prevent the demonstrations from resulting in “serious disorder, serious damage to property, serious disruption to the life of the community, and to prevent the intimidation of local people trying to go about their business”.

This meant that crowds who gathered in Trafalgar Square had to obey conditions imposed by the Metropolitan Police – which included following a particular route.

On a Facebook event page, Britain First said “all patriots welcome to attend”, while the EDL said on an event page: “After the vile terrorist attack on parliment we will stand together and show we will not now, not ever bow down and fear terrorists and terrorism. join us to show our strength.” (sic)

However, many people were quick to notice that the turnout on the Britain First and EDL side of things was not particularly strong.

Whereas UAF counter-protesters came out in force, with hundreds chanting “EDL go to hell” and some getting into scuffles with the police.

The event comes just over a week after Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood’s murderous rampage left four people dead.

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