Walthamstow residents will take to the streets on Saturday to defend their community from the racist thugs of the English Defence League

EDL residents against EDL

Yet again, the Islamophobic and racist English DefenceLeague is planning to bring its noxious mixture of bigotry and hooliganism to East London. Yet again, a community – this time, Waltham Forest – is coming together to tell the racists that they are not welcome.

For more than three years now, the EDL has sought – largely unsuccessfully – to threaten and intimidate peaceful communities, attempting to ferment anti-Muslim sentiment and conducting a wider campaign against multiculturalism. More recently, it has targeted the trade union and student movements.

The EDL has lost much of its momentum in recent months, having been turned back in community after community as residents, religious organisations, trade unions and groups like Unite Against Fascism have united in opposition to the racists. Last year, the EDL’s planned march through Tower Hamlets was stopped by thousands of demonstrators and in May, the We Are Luton Campaign ensured that the League’s march was marginalised.

But this does not mean that we should downplay the threat posed by the EDL and fascist groups like the BNP and National Front. The scapegoating and scaremongering favoured by these organisations can often be found, in only marginally less virulent form in the right-wing press, and we have seen a ratcheting up of rhetoric against multiculturalism from Cameron and other Tory leaders.

Nor is the threat posed by the EDL a purely political one. Time and time again they have shown that when frustrated by opposition, they are quite prepared to attack individuals, mosques and businesses.  

Waltham Forest is one of the most diverse boroughs in the country. It is also one of the most harmonious and no one wants to see the EDL, or any other organisation, coming in trying to sow division. That’s why it’s so important that local residents and their wider supporters show unity in opposing the EDL’s march on September 1.

Opposition has been organised by an umbrella group, We Are Waltham Forest which brings together activists from across the community, from various political organisations and trade unions, the Trades Council and from the various faith groups.

September 1 comes little more than a week after the Islamophobic terrorist, Anders Breivik was convicted and sentenced in Norway. EDL leader, Stephen Yaxley-Lennon has been struggling to distanced himself from Breivik, even though links have been made between the EDL’s founders and Breivik. Yaxley-Lennon has been quoted speaking approvingly of of Breivik’s blogs. There is no place for individuals like Yaxley-Lennon in Waltham Forest, nor his EDL thugs.

Join us on Saturday and help us send the EDL packing.

A final organising meeting will be taking place at the William Morris Community Centre, 8 Greenleaf Road, E17 6QQ at 7.30 on Thursday 30 August.

The main rally against the EDL convenes at the Town Centre Arcade Square at the top of the market, just off Hoe Street from 11am.