The EDL emerged last year as an ultrarightist organization that targets Muslims. Among its demands, the EDL calls for a ban on the building of new mosques in Britain and on wearing burqas, a form of dress worn by some Muslim women. According to The Times, the rightists march also drew as many as 2,000 people. Their placards included, Sharia law will destroy Britain and all our British values and Brown lies and another soldier dies.
The UAF counterdemonstration included many students and other participants from throughout the United Kingdom. We have Polish, Czechs, English, and Jews living side by side, Mohamed Patel from Bolton told the Militant. We have to stand together and not be pushed by the EDL.
In a show of force, mounted cops and riot police with dogs prevented many from joining the counterdemonstration and boxed protesters into the town square where the action was held, preventing them from leaving.
Caroline Bellamy and Paul Davies, Communist League candidates in Edinburgh South West and Bethnal Green and Bow in London participated in the counter protest. Davies condemned the violence of the cops and the arrests of protestors.
Seventy-four people were arrested at the action, overwhelmingly from the UAF, including the groups organizer Weyman Bennett.
Pete Clifford contributed to this article.
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