To Walthamstow with the EDL to protest against the islamisation of this London district, formerly part of Essex, which with Leyton and Chingford form the London Borough of Waltham Forest. The many reasons to do so were covered here, last month.
The original request was for a march to leave Walthamstow Central Station, marching north up Hoe Street, past the top of the famous Walthamstow High Street Market, turning right at Bell Corner into Forest Road and thence to a site by the Town Hall and Assembly Rooms for a rally and speeches. The Town Square is in use as a large screen public viewing area for the Paralympics.
The authorities said no. Instead the EDL agreed to muster at Kings Cross in north London (as happened last year for the Tower Hamlets demo) then travel by tube to Blackhorse Road (one stop on the Victoria line from Walthamstow Central) then a march the length of Forest Road, crossing the Bell corner junction on the way to the Town Hall.
I decided to start at Walthamstow Central to see what was happening at the rally by We Are Waltham Forest in support of multiculturalism. This was due to begin on the Arcade Site opposite the Town Square at 11am and they had been promising choirs, music and celebration etc. for weeks.. The Arcade site used to contain a rather good shopping arcade; this was pulled down and is now concreted over while the council wrangle about which redevelopment deal will pay them the best backhanders.
To my surprise (not) the Town Square was given over to a large political rally featuring the usual suspects – Socialist Worker, the Socialist party, various trades Unions, and Solidarity with Palestine. A sound stage and PA system drowned out the Paralympic commentary which many people still endeavoured to watch.
These photographs show a selection of the sorts of groups taking part.
I didn’t catch this woman’s name but I believe her to be a trade union official from a Public Service union – from her cherry pink tabard I suppose that she is a dinner lady. Her speech criticised the EDL as football hooligans and thugs – racists. Do not be fooled, she said. They say they are not but they are made up of the core of the old British Nazi Party – the old National Front. And if you do not believe what they have in store for us look at Europe. Look at Marine le Pen in France. Look at Sweden where they have Nazis in Parliament again. And it is not just the EDL that we are against. We are against those politicians who are letting this happen. David Cameron HOW DARE YOU CRITICISE MULTICULTURALISM. She is proud to stand with her Muslim brothers and sisters.
Ladies and gentlemen, fresh from their triumphant politically correct re-writing of English history at the Olympic opening ceremony, we present, on drums, the Tolpuddle Martyrs.
This young man claims that he was born in Waltham Forest, not 15 minutes from this site. Which begs the question why doesn’t he have the local accent? Notice that Costa Coffee did a roaring trade.
An announcement that the rally was to line up ready to march was rescinded, come back we are not ready to go yet.
I decided to walk to Forest Road to see the EDL coming along. I passed the Arcade Site. There was a belling ringing demonstration in aid of the Parish church and the choir Waltham Forest Voices were singing very sweetly about Sunshine in your Life to an audience of 5 people. That was a shame, but bashing the fash obviously held more appeal.
I walked along Forest Road until I could see the march in the distance. The police were clearing the pavements and after being moved along several times I took an officer’s direction that behind the railings of the garden surrounding the William Morris gallery was an acceptable and safe place for me.
After the march passed, progress being rather slow, I decided to slip down some side streets and get ahead of them as I wanted to see them pass Bell Corner. I came up Hoe Street to find that the WAWF rally had been allowed the Hoe Street route to march and they were blocking the junction. I found out later that missiles, bottles and bricks had been thrown at the EDL and WAWR had sat down blocking the street. The EDL were taken along some back streets crossing Chingford Road behind the Bell and reaching the Town Hall by a side entrance.
The police had the way forward completely blocked so I tried to reach the Town Hall down more of the little back streets. Many individuals of the WAWF had the same idea.
The main body of their counter demonstration were then moved by the police to a space to the front of the Town Hall, which the EDL were at the side. I have heard that the stage had to be dismantled due to more flying missiles and there were no speeches. It was expected that speeches would be made by Tommy Robinson, Kev Carroll, Paul Weston, and a Walthamstow resident. Down the back streets the students and teacher looking types started to drift away, dumping their flyers and placards in hedges, on the floor, anywhere as they did so.
Their place was taken by car loads of young men many in Islamic dress. I managed to get in front of the Town Hall but again the police blocked both the road and the pavement and were letting no one through.
I went back the way I came but turned left earlier and found myself right opposite the Bell. This is how the area was left.
Hoe Street was blocked and WAWR were contained behind a row of police vans.
You can see the unholy alliance of Islam and Trade Unionists.
Weyman Bennet leader of the SWP tries to pick up another dinner lady.
Gradually more and more young men arrived. Some had taken the card off their placards and were brandishing the sticks. As fast as police were confiscating the sticks more young men and boys appeared. They shook their sticks at the police, jeering.
The EDL march could be seen in the far distance crossing Chingford Road on their way back to Blackhouse Road Station.
Allah Akbar – it’s time for prayer – and if the road is closed – use it.
I didn’t like the atmosphere and decided it was time to leave. Making my way up the hill more and more young men with sticks were coming down. By the time I got to my car the police helicopters were circling above and I could hear sirens. I left at 6pm and got home at 7pm. At the time of writing this it is 9.30 and I read that the EDL have been held at Blackhorse Road all this time. Members of the Underground Train drivers union are believed to have refused to drive the trains to take them to the dispersal point.
At 10.30 I am told that many have been arrested under the new favourite police trick 'potential breach of the peace' taken in vans to outlying police stations at the very edges of the Metropolitan area, and de-arrested to make their way home with difficulty.