60 arrested after EDL march

By politics.co.uk staff

A banned march by the English Defence League (EDL) took place yesterday, with 60 arrests for violent disorder.

Despite being banned by the home secretary, around 1,000 far-right activists and 1,500 anti-fascist opponents gathered in east London, where the police promptly tried to disperse them.

EDL demonstrators gathered outside Aldgate Tube station, only for police to march them across Tower Bridge, hold them for 40 minutes, and then allow them to go. They were not allowed to chant or hold placards.

Even with the severe restrictions in place, the march resulted in 16 arrests including assault on a police officer, common assault, drunk and disorderly and affray.

Later, a coach carrying EDL activists had an altercation with some local youths outside Stepney Green Tube station, leading police to arrest everyone on board.

EDL founder Stephen Lennon breached his bail conditions to attend the protest and arrived in disguise as an orthodox Jew.

The violence will do little to change the perception of the EDL as violent thugs following an extremist anti-Islamic ideology.

That reputation led Theresa May to ban the march, fearing that the presence of the group in multi-cultural east London could have triggered disorder on the scale seen last month.