EDL to be banned from marching in Waltham Forest

A ban on the far-right English Defence League (EDL) marching in Waltham Forest this weekend is set to be announced later today.

The Metropolitan Police is believed to have applied to the Home Office for the group to be barred from demonstrating in the borough on Saturday over concerns for public safety.

The Guardian, the council and community group We Are Waltham Forest have campaign against the EDL returning to Waltham Forest following a demonstration in September.

The group was blocked from marching to a rally near the town hall by thousands of residents and anti-fascist groups.

An event celebrating the borough’s diversity in Walthamstow Town Square will still go ahead on Saturday.

Waltham Forest Guardian, 23 October 2012

Update:  See “EDL march: Police ask Theresa May to ban gathering”, BBC News, 23 October 2012

Of course, the home secretary doesn’t have the power to ban a static assembly, only a mobile procession. So the EDL will probably go ahead with their plans for a protest in Waltham Forest on Saturday (even though you would have thought, with a large part of their leadership having been banned from attending demonstrations in East London, they would be well advised to postpone it).

The police do, however, have powers under Section 14 of the Public Order Act to impose conditions on a static protest. If they believe that a public assembly might result in “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community” or if the aim of the assembly is to intimidate others, then they have the power to “give directions imposing on the persons organising or taking part in the assembly such conditions as to the place at which the assembly may be (or continue to be) held, its maximum duration, or the maximum number of persons who may constitute it”.

So the Met have the power under Section 14 to instruct the EDL to hold Saturday’s demonstration somewhere well away from the centre of Walthamstow where their disruption and intimidation of the local community can be kept to a minimum.