EDL rioted at St George’s Day parade, court told

The English Defence League, a far-right anti-Islamic political group, have been blamed for “hijacking” a St George’s Day parade in Ruislip and rioting in the street.

One of the police officers who dealt with the trouble outside The Bell pub in West End Road, on April 23, told a court today (Wednesday) that many of those causing trouble were seen to be wearing polo shirts emblazoned with the English Defence League (EDL).

At the trial of a 24-year-old man, charged with assaulting a police officer and with a public order offence during the incident, Uxbridge Magistrates Court heard that between 70 and 80 people were involved in disrupting the parade from RAF Northolt.

Martyn Harris, 24, from Greenford, pleaded guilty to using threatening and abusive behaviour but denied assaulting PC Williamson. The officer said: “Mr Harris’s behaviour was consistent of the entire crowd. There were a lot of people claiming to be from the English Defence League, that had hijacked the parade.”

Up to 500 people had gathered to enjoy a barbecue, live music and the arrival of the parade outside The Bell when trouble began and a group began fighting. There has not been any violence at the event before and the pub landlord said at the time that “outsiders” were to blame.

Judge Deborah Wright said: “This sounds like it was a riot. A very serious matter where police were struggling to control the crowd.”

It was heard that Mr Harris had been one of the aggressors in the violence. Prosecution lawyer, Nikki Onuma-Elliot, said: “Mr Harris lunged toward PC Williamson, f-ing and shouting. He continued this behaviour and was warned to stand back.

“But he kept pushing the officer and swinging arms, trying to provoke violence. He was pushed back but kept advancing. As he was being arrested Harris was being extremely violent and said ‘f-ing mug’ and ‘I’m f-ing going to do you.'”

Uxbridge Gazette, 30 June 2010