They’ve spent two years boasting about it and, this weekend, they finally did it: the EDL went to the East London borough of Tower Hamlets to confront the Islamo-fascists whose beliefs threaten their very existence. Except they didn’t, because the police stopped them from ever actually getting there.
Early Saturday morning, somewhere around a thousand EDL members flooded into London from all over the UK. They intended to march through Tower Hamlets and end up outside the East London Mosque on Whitechapel Road. I’m not sure why people from Scotland or Suffolk would care that much about Tower Hamlets. Would racists from London bother to spend a day running around Toxteth, trying to get within spitting distance of the Al-Rahma Mosque? I guess I’m missing the part of my brain that turns a Muslim place of worship into a universe-destroying Death Star.
Eager to get on with things, the EDL gathered at King’s Cross and Liverpool Street. Unfortunately, they hadn’t anticipated that trade unions such as the RMT would close King’s Cross station as soon as they arrived, trapping them inside for up to an hour. Working class people conspiring AGAINST the EDL? Surely not.
The EDL who had gathered at Liverpool Street had it no easier when a gang of anti-fascists turned up to stop them leaving. The EDL responded with flashbangs, and the police responded to everyone with big fucking dogs, as is their wont.
Eventually, the EDL were allowed to leave, but not before clashing with more anti-fascists and, on a few occasions, each other.
The two groups met up near Tower Bridge. It was like that Kinks song “Waterloo Sunset”, but with a different bridge and more racists.
At the rally point, their was a jubilant atmosphere – they’d finally made it; all that hard work and planning had paid off, not even the government could stop them!
Oh no, wait: Thanks to a combination of last month’s riots and Home Secretary Theresa May, the march had been banned. The EDL knew this beforehand, though, and had cunningly decided to get around the problem by having a “static march” instead, which was a march that didn’t involve any actual marching. Instead, they’d sit in the road outside Aldgate tube station and listen to a series of inarticulate speeches as they were babysat by police. It worked like a dream, and for two hours East London was home to the world’s angriest creche.
Unfortunately, the EDL’s plot to reclaim Tower Hamlets for the white majority was foiled by a simple error of geography. As if to compound the embarrassment of having their march banned, pubs denying them entry, union workers barring them from entering London, and the mainstream media ignoring them, their rally point in Aldgate wasn’t in Tower Hamlets, its home borough actually being the City of London.
It was also nowhere near the East London Mosque. In case any EDL members reading this are wondering what the East London Mosque looks like, it’s that building with the pointy things on up there ^
Leading up to this demo, the EDL and Tommy Robinson had been in large spots of bother. First Anders Breivik, the Norwegian mass murderer, claimed he was BFFs with prominent EDL members in his manifesto. Secondly, Tommy Robinson, the EDL’s leader, had been arrested after headbutting another EDL member at a demo in Blackburn, and his bail conditions meant he could not attend any EDL gatherings of any kind. But Tommy is a sly fox, and fooled everyone by dressing up as a rabbi and unveiling himself on stage before goading the police to come and arrest him for breaching his bail. So they did, but not before he managed to blame the 7/7 bombings on the entire Muslim population of Britain. So much for the EDL only opposing militant Islam, then.
As the police snatch squad moved in, the EDL did everything they could to defend their dear leader, and fought back against the police. Cue batons swinging wildly, the dogs being unleashed and horses being brought in for back-up. At this point, the EDL had lost all control and were attacking anyone who didn’t share their rosy vision of the future. One photographer was set on fire, another was sexually harassed, and then this one was shoved a bit before police came and stomped heads. (I totally had it covered, BTW.)
Things calmed down when the EDL stopped making speeches, so the police decided to march everyone down towards Tower Bridge. There was a lot of pushing and shoving, lots of stepping in horseshit, and lots of friendly banter between the EDL and the press.
This was about the time that the EDL started telling tourists that they were “fucking scum”.
Once south of the river, the police allowed the EDL to go on their way. Some were arrested for earlier offences, others were seen to by medics, and some had the nerve to call an Asian photographer a “Communist paedophile” even though one of their leaders was caught with pictures of kids being abused on his computer.
So, there were no mass brawls between Asian gangs and the EDL, the police did a good job, and the EDL never made it to Tower Hamlets.
Well actually, that’s not strictly true. Later that evening, a coach carrying EDL members home through Tower Hamlets broke down outside Stepney Green tube station. After two years of planning, gloating and wild threats, 44 of the 1,000 EDL members in London on Saturday briefly got to set foot in Tower Hamlets, as they scurried the few metres from their broken down coach onto a TfL bus the police had to commandeer for them to stop them getting lynched.
Veni, vidi, vici, lads! See you next time.
WORDS AND PHOTOS BY HENRY LANGSTON