Tensions could rise in the community if far-right group the English Defence League (EDL) is allowed to march through Walthamstow, critics claim. Both the Waltham Forest Anti-Cuts Union and Trades Council have criticised plans posted online for an EDL demonstration in the area on Saturday August 18.
The EDL, which describes itself as an “inclusive movement” opposed to Islamic extremism, denies being a racist organisation. But a spokesman for the WF Trades Council said: “There is no other reason that this organisation should come to Waltham Forest other than to seek to divide our multicultural community and to incite racial tension”. He added that plans were underway for an alternative ‘We Are Waltham Forest’ event on the same day, designed to celebrate the borough’s multiculturalism.
Last September Waltham Forest was one of five London boroughs where marches were temporarily banned by the government, following concerns about a proposed EDL march in Tower Hamlets. At the time, police said they had “specific intelligence” which suggested that the EDL demo could potentially result in “serious public disorder, violence and damage”.
A Met spokeswoman said: “Police are aware that EDL plan to hold a demonstration and an appropriate policing plan will be in place.”