Sometimes marching is show of solidarity for a cause and other times – no matter how much its organisers insist that it’s the innocent enactment of a fundamental civil right – marching is the expression of a threat of force.
With the EDL marching is the latter kind – it’s about asserting control of the streets. They march in neighbourhoods where Muslims live, and their presence is intended (at least by their organisers) to intimidate Muslims – not to mention embarrass councillors who are trying to accommodate the needs of diverse communities including Muslims.
Of course, there are some Muslim groups – namely militant Islamists – who would love to control their neighbourhoods. They deserve the same treatment as the EDL. I’m just not sure what that treatment should be. Public money is very short and the policing bill for the EDL is staggering. It is staggering that a group which purports to be so in love with England could squander public money in this way.
EDL to march in Barking on 14th January
A website used by the English Defence League has given notice of a march in Barking next Saturday between 1pm and 3pm.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “We are aware of a planned march by the English Defence League (EDL) on Saturday.
“The organisers have been in contact with police. An appropriate policing plan is in place.
“The march is expected to leave from Wakering Road, Barking passing by Barking Railway Station into Ripple Road and finishing at Axe Street.”
The last time the EDL marched in the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham two young south Asian men were beaten so badly they needed hospital treatement. A photographer suffered and assault and a Hope Not Hate campaigner was struck in the face with a banner pole.
It is not known whether any charges have been brought against the thugs responsible for the assaults, who were clearly identifiable, or in respect of a serious attack on a meeting attended by trade unionists and activists from the Labour Party and Unite Against Fascism in the same area earlier last year. On that occasion a large amount of damage was caused to council premises and a health worker received an injury to her arm that needed surgery.