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English Defence League plans for a show of force in Walthamstow, one of London's most multi-cultural boroughs, ended in crushing humiliation

Waltham forest kidsA great mobilisation by campaigners under the We are Waltham Forest umbrella brought out support from the local community. We are Waltham Forest brought together the local council of mosques, Unite Against Fascism, the Trades Council and other local campaigners.

The racist EDL had planned to march from Blackhorse Road tube station to a rally at Waltham Forest Town Hall. Their route, however, was blocked by the We are Waltham Forest march which, united representatives from all the borough's communites.

Protesters staged a sit-down protest at the the point at which the routes of the two marches crossed. First it was announced that the EDL would not continue. It turned out that they had been hustled through the back streets to their intended rallying point.

Whilst part of the anti-racist demonstration got kettled at the site of the sit-down, hundreds of others made their own way to the town hall.

The EDL's town hall 'rally' turned into a bizarre confrontaion as EDL leader Tommy Robinson spoke from a small stage, next to the EDL gazebo, to an audience of hundreds of hostile anti-racist demonstrators. His own supporters were several hundred yards away behind several lines of police.

Apparently they did not take kindly to the frustrations of their aborted day out and beat up one of their own stewards.

The day was an example of how mobilisations built in the community can isolate the EDL and stop their hate-filled politics from spreading.

Alastair Stephens

Alastair Stephens

Alastair Stephens has been a socialist his whole adult life and has been active in Unison and the TGWU. He studied Russian at Portsmouth, Middle East Politics at SOAS and writes regularly for the Counterfire website.

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