The English Defence League vows to protest in Tower Hamlets following the arrest of the organisation’s leaders as they tried to enter the borough.
EDL leaders Stephen Lennon, who goes by the alias Tommy Robinson, and Kevin Carroll were arrested as they approached Tower Hamlets during what they say was a charity walk from Westminster to the site where Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich.
Lennon has told Channel 4 News that despite bail conditions imposed yesterday banning him from entering Tower Hamlets he hopes to challenge what he claims is a “double standard” and join his organisation for a protest near the East London Mosque in August.
A post to their Facebook page last night declared: “EDL National Demonstration announcement, Saturday 31st August 2013 Tower Hamlets…Further details TBA nearer the time No Surrender!”
Today Lennon confirmed that he was backing the protest call despite past protests in the borough being banned due to fears their presence could provoke violence.
“I’ll be going, they can’t stop us from protesting, It’s the police’s job to facilitate protest,” he declared.
He went on to say he intended to launch a legal challenge to the bail conditions preventing him from entering Tower Hamlets.
“I have done nothing wrong, I didn’t agree to the bail conditions and I will be speaking to a solicitor to see what can be done.”
In 2011 the EDL attempted to march to the area but were held nearby at Aldgate East, a coach full of supporters was attacked later that day as it passed through Mile End.
In footage posted online yesterday police can be seen escorting Robinson and Carroll near Aldgate, they then scuffle with two other men who are walking alongside them.
The two men, who reportedly told the EDL they were “not welcome around here”, were also arrested.
This is a joke! Bailed not to enter tower hamlets pic.twitter.com/uANVmTJkHI
— Tommy Robinson EDL (@EDLTrobinson) June 29, 2013
The EDL leaders were walking to raise money for a young girl fighting against neuroblastoma and say they had intended to lay flowers in memory of Drummer Rigby in Woolwich.
Scotland Yard confirmed it had imposed strict conditions due to fears that the march and a planned gathering in Woolwich could result in “serious public disorder and serious disruption to the life of the community”.
Earlier this week, two American anti-Islam activists were banned from entering the UK by the Home Secretary to prevent them joining this weekend’s march.
Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who set up Stop Islamisation of America, have been forbidden from entering the country on the grounds their presence would “not be conducive to the public good”.
In the aftermath of the Woolwich attack the EDL has enjoyed boost in support, Lennon confirmed to Channel 4 News that they had rebounded from a state of near collapse to holding several large demonstations at short notice with thousands of supporters.
Today the organisation boasted that they had more likes on Facebook than Labour and the Lib Dems and warned they were “coming after you too, Tories”.