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'We will not be intimidated by these racist thugs'
9:20am Wednesday 12th September 2012 in News
Campaigners have sworn to flood the streets of Walthamstow with demonstrators if an English Defence League (EDL) march planned for October goes ahead.
We Are Waltham Forest (WAWF) clashed with the EDL when it thwarted the group's attempt to march through Forest Road on September 1, blocking off part of the route with 3,000 protesters, and vowed to come again in larger numbers if the extremists return.
The EDL, which describes itself as a movement against Islamic extremism and denies claims it is racist, has announced a planned return to Walthamstow on October 27, postponing a demonstration in Norwich to come.
Leader Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, said in a statement: "We're going back to Walthamstow and when we say we have to let bygones be bygones with many people across the EDL, everyone's welcome back.
"We need every man that's game going into east London on October 27. Roll on Walthamstow."
WAWF spokeswoman Sophie Bolt condemned the move.
"It's utterly contemptible that the EDL have plans to march again," she said. "We will not be intimidated by these racist thugs.
"It's an abuse of our community to try and use Walthamstow to make some point.
"We will be coming out again and we will be calling on all those around the area who oppose fascism and the politics of the EDL to come and join us in a peaceful protest. There will be more than 3,000 of us."
Twenty people were arrested after scuffles broke out and missiles thrown between EDL and anti-EDL campaigners at the junction of Bromley Road and Forest Road on September 1.
Three people were subsequently charged for possessing offensive weapons or provoking violence in the anti-EDL protest and one EDL campaigner was charged with harassment.
Miss Bolt said: "We are following all that up with the police. It was overwhelmingly a peaceful demonstration."
A police spokeswoman said: "If this march, and any counter protest, goes ahead the Met will put in place an operation that allows both groups to hold a peaceful protest as is their legal right.
"We also have a duty to prevent crime or disorder, and minimise the impact that the protests may have on the local community."
By Joe Curtis »
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