An estimated 250 EDL supporters marched today from Redbridge to Dagenham. It got violent. The pretext seems to have been the conversion of a former butchers into a Muslim centre.
It seems I wasn’t the only one taken unaware. Hope Not Hate reports that there was no police escort, and while Dagenham had organised 10 police vans, Redbridge had one community support officer on a bike. When the EDL started attacking young Asian men, hospitalising one with a broken jaw, the police were nowhere (the net gain of Redbridge’s two-for-one police offer comes to mind).
In case there is any doubt, the EDL is a group associated with violence and consequently huge policing costs. Over the past fortnight:
- 18th June – suspended sentence for EDL supporter trying to punch two older Asian men in Halifax
- 16th June – weapons and racist chants in Halifax
- 16th June – Lancashire force put the cost of policing EDL marches at over £1,000,000; and are considering requiring the EDL to fund them (presumably the EDL will respond with more flash demos like this one)
- 15th June – founder of EDL faces assault charge
- 12th June – repeated threats to “burn your mosques” in Leeds flash demo
- 11th June – founder of EDL gatecrashes Home Secretary’s constituency surgery.
- 7th June – man in EDL t-shirt attacks Asian man in Rochdale
- 7th June – West Bromwich EDL support punches police horse 8 times
- May 26th – EDL supporters trash building hosting Labour Party and Unite Against Fascism meeting in Barking.
If the EDL try to control the streets, local police forces shouldn’t warn residents away as Kirklees force warned away young people in Dewsbury. Forces need to work with residents, as they have done in Bradford, Leicester, and Thames Valley to ensure that they remain everybody’s streets.
Here’s a positive grassroots response – due for an EDL visitation on 9th July, Derby has scrambled a multicultural music festival. But unlike us, they had forewarning.
The local group to support is Redbridge and Epping Forest Together (REFT) – details from Hope Not Hate’s directory:
Redbridge and Epping Forest Together
P.O.Box 1576 Ilford IG5 0NG
020 8550 1805
Councillors Bhamra and Nijjar are involved in a nationwide initiative to counter the EDL’s “divide and rule” tactics with British Asians.
EDL background at:
- Bob From Brockley‘s EDL category
- Search Modernity for “English Defence League”
- I have got a lot out of reading the (Jewish) Community Security Trust blog posts on the EDL
- Liverpool Antifascists‘ EDL category
- Lancaster Unity’s EDL category
- And of course Hope Not Hate
- There are plenty of other places (be wary of SWP fronts, Islamist fronts, and any group which present EDL supporters as thick, evil, or deserving of a battering).
Still no cached page yet, not inclined to provide a direct link, so copy and paste this for the EDL’s report of the march: http://englishdefenceleague.org/content.php?382-Dagenham-Demo-18-June-2011. (On the poppy burning, I noticed that the Muslim Defence League, which grew up as an answer to the English Defence League and is cause for concern, has condemned that act at some length.)
A YouTube video interview of the man whose jaw was broken has a cesspit of anti-Muslim, anti-Asian comment underneath it (the video is by MPACUK, an organisation that means bad news for people like me; incidentally, the Muslim Defence League says on its Facebook page that the men involved were not part of the MDL, and Hope Not Hate doesn’t report any aggressive behaviour on their part).
Update: Barkingside21 has a piece on this. As B21 writes, we’re a pretty diverse bunch in Redbridge, we get along for the most part, and are all the better for it.
Update: a heads-up from Jams on a planned rally in Romford this weekend, seeking to broaden participation by badging it as a patriotic celebration of military service. They are actively encouraging people to bring their kids. Is this a way of keeping violence at bay?
Update: Sarah’s neighbourhood will have a visitation on July 9th.