Legal action has been threatened in a bid to challenge the Metropolitan Police’s failure to ban far right group the English Defence League (EDL) from marching through east London next weekend. Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman’s office tonight confirmed the last ditch attempt to stop the march from going ahead as planned next Saturday (September 7).
Mayor Lutfur Rahman said: “I’m deeply disappointed that the police and the home secretary have failed to act, despite my formally requesting them to do so. Clearly they are not on the same page as the scores of prominent national and local figures who joined me in calling for a ban. I call upon them to see sense, but in the absence of an adequate response I intend to take this matter to the High Court.”
Earlier this month dozens of signatories backed a letter to home secretary Theresa May to ban the planned protest.
Scotland Yard confirmed earlier today that the Met was in negotiations with EDL organisers and opposition groups over the planned march. But tonight’s revelation indicates that those negotiations have broken down, with sources at the town hall saying it was looking increasingly likely that the march would be given the go ahead.
Police said earlier a decision on whether to apply to the home secretary to ban the event is not likely to be reached until early next week. A police application is necessary in order for Theresa May to step in.
Even if a ban is enforced, EDL leader Tommy Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – said on social networking site Twitter that members of the group would still come to the borough next weekend. In a series of tweets directed at Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahman, he wrote: “We are coming down your rd (sic).” “Even if Theresa May bans our march, we are still coming. 65% of the community want us there,” he added.
Anti-fascist campaigners have also pledged to turn out in large numbers next weekend in a counter-demonstration against the EDL.
Here is the EDL’s response: