Update 17 April: Statement from Waltham Forest UAF:
Waltham Forest says ‘stop the EDL’ on Saturday 9 May
The English Defence League has announced plans to march through Walthamstow on Saturday 9 May. The EDL is an extremely violent, fascist group that whips up hatred and intolerance. It particularly targets Muslim communities.
This violent, street-fighting group had originally planned the march through Woolwich in a sickeningly cynical attempt to exploit the death of Fusilier Lee Rigby who was murdered outside the army barracks in 2013. However, Lee Rigby’s mother expressed her disgust at the EDL plans. In a statement she wrote, “I have never given any permission or agreed to any part of this demonstration, I have never believed in this nor would Lee.”
Instead of apologising to Lynn Rigby, the EDL now plans to target Waltham Forest, a move condemned by Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy and faith leaders.
Waltham Forest has a proud history of standing up to fascism and celebrating our diverse and vibrant community. In 2012 over 4000 local residents joined in protest against the EDL marching through the borough. The protest was attended by local MPs, faith communities, disability rights organisations, trade unions, school students and pensioners. It received widespread national support and contributed to the collapse of the EDL.
However, a climate of bigotry and hatred is on the rise – the scapegoating of migrants, attacks on the Muslim community and an increase in antisemitism. Political parties are using the general election to whip up this hatred further. The EDL is trying to use this situation to revive itself. We cannot allow this to happen.
Here in Waltham Forest we have shown that if you want to defeat fascism you cannot ignore it and hope that it will go away. Instead, you must challenge its politics of hate, expose the racist lies, and stand united against it.
So, on Saturday 9 May, we will again take to the streets in peaceful united protest to defend and celebrate our multicultural home. We urge everyone to join with us to send our message loud and strong: the fascist EDL is never welcome here.
UPDATE 7 MAY:
NEW 11.00AM START TIME
RALLY AT TOWN HALL
The police have given permission for the English Defence League to march in Walthamstow on Saturday 9 May. They will be assembling at Blackhorse Road tube at 12.00 and marching up Forest Road to a rallying point near the Town Hall.
It is an absolute disgrace that the police are allowing the EDL to march in our borough. This decision goes against the wishes of the entire community in Waltham Forest.
The EDL is coming to whip up hatred against the Muslim community here in Waltham Forest. It wants to divide and denigrate our multicultural community. The EDL is trying to revive itself. It is feeding off the rise in Islamophobia and racism that is being whipped up by some politicians in this general election. We will not allow this to happen.
This is why we are urging everyone to join us in a peaceful united protest at the Town Hall on Forest Road from 11.00am. Yet again, it is time to stand together, united in defence of our multicultural, diverse community.
To make sure that everyone is able to take part in our peaceful rally at the Town Hall, stewards will be on hand to direct people to the Town Hall who still make their way to Walthamstow town centre at 12.00 noon as previously advertised.
Waltham Forest has shown that to defeat fascism you cannot ignore it. You must instead stand united to challenge its politics of hate and violence.
COME AND HELP US SEND A STRONG MESSAGE THAT THE EDL WILL NEVER BE WELCOME IN WALTHAM FOREST.
Waltham Forest Town Hall
London E17 6HE