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article imageThe English Defence League (EDL) protest in Walthamstow, London

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By Richard Milnes     Sep 1, 2012 in World
Walthamstow - The EDL came to Walthamstow, Waltham Forest to protest against Islamic extremism and links to terrorist organisations coming from the area.
The London Borough of Waltham Forest includes the towns of Chingford, Walthamstow, Leyton and Leytonstone.
The EDL met up at Kings Cross station in central London, from where they were to travel on to Walthamstow, in East London.
A YouTube video shows a group of patriotic English singing "With Saint George in my heart, keep me English" and "No surrender to the Taliban."
The British Freedom Party (the political wing of the EDL) reported on their website that their leader Paul Weston had accepted an invitation to speak at the Walthamstow demonstration. It tells people to expect “another searingly honest, hard-hitting attack on Islamic extremism and left-wing cowardice and hypocrisy.”
Latest updates on the march
Recent ‘tweets’ indicate that the counter demonstrators have attempted to block the EDL from marching.
Casuals United, a group linked to the EDL reports that it has “all kicked off” and that “Antifa [are] throwing stuff at [the] EDL crowd”
Problems in Waltham Forest that the EDL are highlighting
An article appearing in the New English Review goes into some detail as to why the EDL have gone to Walthamstow.
It links the address of the Jamia Mosque to banned terror organisations and another mosque, the Masjid-al-Tawhid is reported as being under investigation over suspected links to terrorism. Extremist preachers have been hosted at the mosque including Abu Qatada and Anwar al-Awlaki.
Counter demonstration by far-left
A group called ‘We are Waltham Forest’ is holding a counter demonstration. The ‘We are…’ name appears to be an attempt to rebrand the far-left Unite Against Fascism (UAF). They have adopted a strategy of linking up with other far-left organisations under a single ‘umbrella’. It looks like the UAF are trying to give the impression that their demonstrations are organised by ‘local people’.
The ‘We are Waltham Forest’ have gathered in Walthamstow town centre from 11am.
According to the East London and West Essex Guardian Series the counter demonstrators plan to march at about 1pm up Selbourne Road and Hoe Street.
Martin Smith, Assistant Secretary of UAF tweeted “Were [sic] on the march now – they shall not pass must be our slogan”.
Protesters carried banners reading ‘Socialist Worker’ (the name of an extreme left-wing political party) and ‘Smash the EDL & BNP’; although it is unlikely that any action will be taken for inciting violence.
Council fails in its attempt to ban the march
Waltham Forest Council had tried to ban the EDL from the Borough and issued the following statement on their website:
While the Council is vehemently opposed to everything the EDL stand for, we have unfortunately been unsuccessful in our attempts to ban them from the borough. The Home Secretary has not responded to our request and the police say they cannot prevent the march unless they think there is a serious threat to public order.
Residents are advised to stay away from the march and any counter demonstrations to avoid trouble.
Councillor Liaquat Ali, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Cohesion, said:
"Waltham Forest is among the most diverse areas within London. We consider this to be one of the borough's key strengths, helping to give the area its unique sense of vibrancy.
"The EDL is targeting our community because of this same rich diversity, but we are standing together and have called on the Home Secretary to ban any action by the EDL and any other group whose main aim is to incite hatred against others because of their religious beliefs, ethnic origin or sexual orientation."
Update
A Digital Journal update on the day's events is here.
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