Campaigners at a rally held last night in the wake of the Home Secretary’s ban on Saturday’s English Defence League march through London’s East End have vowed to continue fighting “the constant threat of neo-fascist organisations.” Around 150 supporters packed the rally by East End United anti-fascist campaign staged at the London Muslim Centre in Whitechapel.
Delegates from 21 community groups, religious organisations and trade unions joined politicians to reaffirm a ‘No Place for Hate’ campaign launched in 2010 when the EDL first attempted a march through Whitechapel. “There is the possibility that the EDL might again attempt to march through east London,” warned campaign orgaiser Weyman Bennett. “Neo-fascist organisations who seek to sow divisions in multi-cultural, working class areas are a constant threat.”
Fighting fascism was not new in the East End, Unison’s Tower Hamlets branch secretary John McLoughlan reminded the rally, recalling the role of trade unions back to the 1930s, while Jack Gilbert from the Rainbow Hamlets group spoke of his Jewish grandfather’s part in the 1936 Battle of Cable Street which halted Osward Mosley’s fascist Blackshirts.
Tower Hamlets Inter-Faith Forum Chair Alan Green, Rector at St John on Bethnal Green, recalled the peaceful demonstrations against the EDL both in 2010 and 2011 and the readiness to do it again.
Future campaign activities are planned that could include activities in schools and libraries and a music festival.