TWO FAR RIGHT groups have chosen April Fool’s Day to air their racist views in central London. The English Defence League (EDL) and Britain First (BF) have joined forces to call a demonstration allegedly in response to the recent individual terrorist attack on Westminster Bridge and Parliament.
The EDL has referred to what happened on 22nd March as a “horrific terrorist attack that was launched in London” and is running the demonstration under the main slogan “#Wearenotafraid”. The London demonstration will be followed in a week by a similar demonstration in Birmingham, on 8th April.
A number of anti-fascist groups have called a counter-demonstration, using the traditional slogan “they shall not pass”. Their reasoning is that the right wing organisations will be using the demonstration to showcase their anti-Muslim and anti-migrant policies.
The Metropolitan Police have imposed conditions on both demonstrations under the provisions of Sections 12 and14 of the Public Order Act 1986. In respect of the EDL demonstration, these confirm that the march must leave Trafalgar Square at 13.15hrs and go via Northumberland Avenue and Victoria Embankment to the planned rallying point, after which it must return to Trafalgar Square via the same route. The demonstration will be contained and no one will be allowed to leave it except at Trafalgar Square. Various other conditions have been posed concerning timing and similar matters.
Similar conditions were imposed on the Britain First demonstration, save that the start/finish point for this demonstration was Charing Cross Station. Conditions were also imposed on Unite Against Fascim (UAF), deemed to be the organiser of the counter demonstration. These required the counter-demonstrators to stage a static protest on Victoria Embankment only.