A politician is calling on far-right group the English Defence League (EDL) to abandon its plans to march in Slough over fears of upsetting community cohesion. Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart has come out fighting after the EDL announced plans to host its first demonstration of the year in Slough on Saturday, February 1.
The group told The Observer it plans to march at 1pm down High Street, Slough, before speeches in the Town Square. An organiser said it will be a dry demonstration – meaning no alcohol – to “not offend other faiths and religions”.
Ms Mactaggart said: “The EDL is not welcome in Slough. We call on them to abandon their planned demonstration, which risks disrupting the good community relations which our town has enjoyed for many years and which our different communities and different faiths are determined should continue. Whether or not the EDL demonstration takes place, we pledge ourselves to work together to maintain and develop good community relations in our town.”
The EDL says the demonstration is a response to plans for a Muslim community centre in Langley and plans for an all-girls Muslim-faith based free school in Slough. An organiser said: “Because of Slough being such a diverse multi-cultural town I have made it a dry demo as to not offend other faiths and religions in the town with hordes of drunken fools.”
The Anti-Fascist Network has also organised a counter demonstration at 11am in Salt Hill Park. It tweeted: “Get to Salt Hill Park to help bury the EDL on their first demo of 2014.” Supporters have been handing out posters and stickers, one of which shows a cartoon character urinating on the EDL badge with the strapline “Community defence to stop the EDL”.
More than 570 EDL supporters have signed up for the march.
An EDL protest at which “drunken fools” are not welcome? You can only conclude that this is going to be very small demonstration.
Slough Trades Union Council and Unite Against Fascism have organised an anti-EDL demonstration under the slogan “Racist Edl Not Welcome in Slough!” They are calling on supporters to assemble at 11am at the Queensmere Shopping Centre, High St, SL1.