|confronting the EDL in Barking|
by New Worker correspondent
MEMBERS of the violent Islamophobic English Defence League last Saturday evening attempted to attack the East London Mosque in Whitechapel after leaving an EDL rally in Barking earlier that afternoon.
Police escorted them on to a train at Barking headed for central London, but a large number got off at Aldgate East and went into a local pub. According the reports, after drinking for some time EDL thugs barged into the pub kitchen and seized knives.
They then went out on the street and made for the East London Mosque. But local residents turned out quickly and in large numbers to stop them.
This led to a fight involving several hundred people, according to police reports. One man was seriously injured and taken to hospital and 15 people were arrested. All were later released on police bail.
Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, said she visited the area after she became aware of police being called.
She said: "I was out visiting constituents when I saw the police cars. As far as I could see, the police were doing their job. There were a lot of young people around but the police are very adept at handling these situations.”
Earlier that day over 150 EDL supporters had assembled from all over England near Barking Station in east London at the Barking Dog public house.
As they became drunk and noisy, local people passing looked very concerned and hurried on their way. The EDL thugs chanted slogans, sang and claimed “We own these streets” and “You’re not English”.
They then engaged in a short march past local shops. The marchers continually abused local shoppers and shopkeepers, especially those who looked as though they might be Asian.
A group of around 50 members of United Against Fascism (UAF) mounted a spirited counter demonstration at very short notice.
The march ended in a square beside the Town Hall with the very noisy EDL corralled by police at one end and the UAF at the other.
Some local youths of mixed ethnicity wandered into the middle at one stage and observed the two groups for some time before turning and about a dozen of them joined the UAF group, joining in with the anti-fascist slogans and holding up UAF placards.
Towards the end of the rally the EDL members suddenly decided to harass and intimidate press photographers present. Police then escorted them to Barking station.
Gerry Gable, editor of the anti-fascist magazine Searchlight, told the New Worker, he was very concerned that the police had allowed a large number of them to leave the train together at Aldgate East, where they later tried to attack the East London Mosque.