EDL / UAF presence in London, 3 September: Imaan recommends that people not attend any demonstrations

Imaan supported calls from the local communities of Tower Hamlets to ban the 3 September march in the area by the racist and fascist EDL (English Defence League) We signed petitions and took public positions on this with local and national politicians and community-leaders.

Last week, the home secretary agreed to ban all marches in Tower Hamlets and five surrouding boroughs.  The ban was recently expanded to include the City of London.  Tower Hamlets mayor, Lutfur Rahman, rightly declared this a victory for the local community and urged everyone that had planned to march against the EDL to now demobilise and stay away from Tower Hamlets to allow the police to deal with any unlawful EDL presence. We support Mayor Rahman’s appeal.

The EDL intends to hold a static protest, marshalled into the pens and cages they deserve and controlled by the police, where they cannot affect local people and where their hate cannot be heard.

UAF, SWP and others are not willing to hear the wishes of the local communities and still, apparently, intend a major demonstration that risks flouting the law and certainly the ban that local people fought so hard to win.

Tower Hamlets Labour councillors, MP and the London Assembly member issued the following statement today:

Labour calls for calm                                                                                        

After leading the campaign to ban the EDL marching through Tower Hamlets, the East End’s Labour politicians have now called for counter demonstrations to be called off

The Home Secretary banned the EDL from marching in Tower Hamlets after a successful local campaign, led by Labour, including delivering a 25,000 strong petition to the Metropolitan Police and Cllr Joshua Peck, Rushanara Ali and Jim Fitzpatrick MP’s and John Biggs AM writing to her to personally to ask for an intervention.

The EDL have vowed to come to Tower Hamlets on Saturday regardless and hold a static demonstration.  Campaign group Unite Against Fascism (UAF) have indicated they will gather to oppose the EDL’s visit.

Additional police will be drafted in to help deal with any potential incidents.

Joshua Peck, Labour Group Leader said:

‘It is important that residents stay at home and let the police deal with any visit by the EDL and they should be reassured that extra officers will be in place to help this weekend pass without incident. I would ask that anyone planning to hold or attend a counter demonstration reconsiders – the safest thing for everyone is to remain calm and let the police do their job’

John Biggs AM said:

‘I know how strongly many people feel about this event. It is important that we react with dignity and restraint and trust the police to tightly manage the demonstration. I have confidence that they are able and prepared to do so. What will destabilise this will be any outbreak of disorder.’

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow said:

‘I urge people to remain calm and level-headed. I don’t want the EDL in my constituency in any form, but the best answer is to turn our backs on these people and let the police deal with them.’

Imaan continues to support the local communities of Tower Hamlets and East London and we urge our friends, members and supporters to avoid any demonstrations on Saturday 3rd September in the interest of the safety and security of local people, who have consistently made their wishes clear and who deserve our respect and care.

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