Published on Saturday, 27 October 2012 23:25 Written by Sonia Gable
The English Defence League’s heralded “rematch” in Walthamstow today never made it to the opening whistle, after the EDL’s leader Stephen Lennon was remanded in Wandsworth Prison last Monday, 53 of his supporters were bailed to stay out of Waltham Forest and three neighbouring boroughs, and the march itself was banned.
Antifascists holding a victory rally in Walthamstow spotted six to eight thuggish EDL types wondering around and made it clear they were unwelcome. They soon vanished.
A larger group, though no more than 60, tried – and failed – to occupy Parliament Square. Their numbers were boosted, if you can call it that, by several supporters from outside London, including Dudley, Wednesbury, Surrey, Berkshire, Portsmouth, Durham and Devon.
Many carried posters depicting Lennon, alias Tommy Robinson, behind bars with a call to “Free Tommy Robinson, political prisoner”. Lennon has been charged with using a false passport to enter the USA. He has also been arrested for an alleged assault in Luton. Calling him a “political prisoner” is questionable.
Without their leader and facing antifascist protesters, some of whom had hot-footed it from an Anti-Fascist Network meeting at the Anarchist Book Fair in east London today, the EDL gave up on speeches and instead carried out a ritual burning of a piece of fabric with Arabic writing on it. Then they were off, back to the pub to drown their sorrows.