29 Jun 2013

EDL leaders arrested over Woolwich walk

EDL co-leaders Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll are arrested in east London during a planned walk to commemorate Lee Rigby, the soldier hacked to death in Woolwich.

Mr Robinson, real name Stephen Lennon, and Mr Carroll were detained by police on suspicion of obstructing officers. The Metropolitan police said on Friday that anyone trying to march to Woolwich would be arrested – and instead imposed a route for the walk from Hyde Park Corner to Old Palace Yard, opposite the House of Lords.

In a statement posted on the EDL’s Twitter feed, the group said: “Tommy Robinson and Kev Caroll arrested for obstructing the police and carted off.”

The statement claimed “negotiations” for their release were taking place and that the pair still hoped to walk to Woolwich to lay flowers.

Two other men were also arrested after an alleged scuffle with the EDL pair.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “At approximately 11.25am today, two men were arrested outside Aldgate East station for obstructing police.

“They have been taken to a south London police station. Two further men were arrested on suspicion of assault. They have been taken to an east London police station.”

Throughout the morning, the pair posted pictures on Twitter at London landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, The Mall and the July 7 Memorial in Hyde Park.

At 12:31pm, Mr Robinson tweeted “Wandsworth police station”.

When has a Muslim charity walk ever been made to have conditions? Tommy Robinson, EDL leader

As well as laying flowers in memory of Drummer Rigby in Woolwich, Mr Robinson and his co-leader Kevin Carroll had planned to walk to raise money for a young girl fighting against neuroblastoma.

Reacting to the Met’s decision to impose restrictions, Mr Robinson said: “The police are enforcing no-go zones for non-Muslims. It’s a charity walk with two people taking part.

“When has a Muslim charity walk ever been made to have conditions?”

The police force said the conditions were imposed due to fears that both the march and gathering would “result in serious public disorder and serious disruption to the life of the community” and a breach of the conditions would be a criminal offence.

Political activists banned from UK

Earlier this week, two American political activists who founded an anti-Muslim group were banned by the home secretary from entering the UK following reports they were to attend this weekend’s march.

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who set up Stop Islamisation of America and run the website Jihad Watch, have been forbidden from entering the country on the grounds their presence would “not be conducive to the public good”.

The Met said it had attempted to liaise with the EDL to facilitate the march and gathering and offered them two alternative routes that avoided the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, home to the East London Mosque.

A statement from the police force said: “To date the organisers have declined to agree to either of these alternative routes.”

Scotland Yard decided to issue two notices under the Public Order Act based on “current community tensions, the current intelligence picture about Saturday and recent marches and protests held by similar groups”.

Earlier this month the police banned the British National Party (BNP) from marching from Woolwich Barracks and ordered it to move its protest to Westminster.

The event saw rival protesters clash outside the Houses of Parliament, as BNP supporters and anti-fascist campaigners came to blows.