Why I support banning the EDL’s march

Picture of a man with his face partly covered, carrying a bat of some kind, with police in the backgroundOf late I’ve seen a number of tweets and blog articles questioning why some “good liberals” suddenly go hard-line when it comes to allowing the English Defence League to have their marches, and start supporting banning them, particularly the one which is meant to take place in east London tomorrow. I’m not a liberal in the same way as the people being referred to, and to me it’s not a matter of principle but a matter of people’s safety, if not life and death, that these marches not be allowed to go on.

The reason I support banning this march is that any time the EDL attempt to march through a Muslim area (and the whole point of this organisation is to “reclaim” or “protect” Britain from a mythical Muslim take-over, so there would be no point in them marching anywhere else), there is always disorder. They commonly attempt to break through police lines (meaning it takes a greater effort, and a greater cost, to police) and if they were to succeed, they would certainly damage property and use violence against local Muslims, or locals perceived to be Muslims. While it is true that there is often a violent extreme element on many demonstrations, it is usually a tiny minority and has nothing to do with the organisers. With the EDL, it is the whole point of the demonstration.

There is a big difference between demonstrations aimed at influencing those in power, be it the local council or the government, or even a major company, and those aimed at intimidating a section of the population (see this article by the local mayor, Lutfur Rahman, in yesterday’s Guardian). The latter category includes the Orange marches, and the marchers’ insistence on marching through predominantly Catholic areas was always a major source of tension which sometimes led to rioting. In some cases, the marchers gloated about Catholic fatalities in “Loyalist” terrorist attacks. They often led to people being forced to leave their homes, leading to neighbourhoods becoming more segregated than they had before the Troubles began. On occasions the government attempted to prevent them from passing through these areas, but caved in to mob rule as in the Garvaghy Road incident in 1996.

East London can well do without the EDL coming and stirring up this kind of trouble. It should be remembered that it saw less violence than many other parts of London during the August riots, and the areas with a particularly heavy Muslim concentration (around Whitechapel) saw none. Since the populations there distinguished themselves by obeying the law at a time when many others did not, why should they be subjected to an invasion by this rabble led by football hooligans, many of them with convictions for violent offences, accompanied by either the inconvenience caused by the necessary police presence, or the violence that would ensue when it broke down, or (more likely) both?

The reason I support banning this march is not to do with what the group stands for politically, or what they might say or shout. It is because of what they might do, as demonstrated on countless previous marches. If the EDL wish to march, they should be invited to do as the rest of us do, and march in the centre of London where the well-guarded seat of power is, not where an unarmed minority lives.

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  • M Risbrook

    Where was the EDL when the (non-Muslim) blacks trashed London a few weeks ago? Most likely crapping their pants in their living rooms. If the EDL really had courage then they would challenge these violent West Indian rioters and looters head on. Even better still, target the square mile and bash the bankers who screwed up the economy. EDL marches against Muslims now look like demonstrations of cowardice.

  • Yeah, and the police would not even think of allowing them to stage an anti-Black march in Brixton, because the potential for violence there would be huge. I suspect that some of those wanting to march in the East End were on those riots but didn’t get caught - it wasn’t just (or even mostly) Blacks, in many areas.

  • ali khan

    good post matt.I wish these zioturds would f# off to israel so that a few katyushas could be pointed at them. @ m risbrook good point about the square mile but its beyond the combined intellectual capacity of the edl to figure that one out and their marches have always been cowardly.Your average 90year old spinster has bigger cojones than these motherf**#ers.

  • M Risbrook

    The Muslims who smashed up the EDL coach are equally big fools. I find it hard to understand what they will achieve in the long run by doing thos. As for the UAF. They are the mirror image of the EDL. Another outfit filled with unkempt lower class people out for little more than a punch up. I’m tempted to say that the behaviour of the UAF is actually fuelling support for the EDL as they both can only survive in a world with each other.

  • YusefH

    The local youth who attacked the bus were fools and need some serious re-education. What they did was deeply wrong and frightening. The EDL are entitled to their opinions, but at that stage they hadn’t actually done anything, except possibly violated the restrictions imposed on that particular gathering. It was a pre-emptive attack. Sounds familiar? But they are not the same as the EDL. When they start going into another neighbourhood looking for trouble (or enforcing Shariah,perhaps) then you can make that claim. Furthermore, they were all kids. The other rioters that have been trashing our cities were virtually all kids. The EDL are a bunch of thugs of all ages spreading a particularly self-deluded justification for hatred and violence.

  • M Risbrook

    Confrontations and fights in the high street by the far left against the BNP achieved sod all in the long run. The BNP stood firm and went on to elect MEPs. Have the Muslims who propose violent counter demonstrations against the EDL not noticed this?

  • Monica

    Really a good post Matt and I’m interested with it. Yeah, I believe that the police would not even think of allowing them to stage an anti-Black march in Brixton, because the potential for violence there would be huge.

  • M Risbrook

    The EDL won’t stage an anti-black march anywhere because they (as an institution) are not opposed to non-Muslim blacks. The EDL ideology is black and white unite providing you hate Islam. Their logo features a black and white shield.