Small EDL march in Peterborough

by New Worker correspondent

AROUND 120 members of the Islamophobic English Defence League arrived by coach in Peterborough for a short march to a rally at the southern end of Peterborough’s main shopping area last Saturday.

The local trades council organised a counter protest of around 150 with a magnificent array of trade union banners, from: Stevenage and District Trades Council, Unison North West Anglia Health, PCS, Peterborough Pensioners’ Association, Unison Peterborough Police Staff, Kings Lynn Trades Council, Peterborough and Huntingdon Socialist Party, Palestine Solidarity Cambridge, Cambridge Trades Council, Unison Cambridge Health branch — all led by Peterborough Trades Council.

In addition there were a number of young people sporting Antifa T-shirts and dozens of Unite Against Fascism placards.

Police outnumbered both the marches with contingents brought in from Leicester, Norfolk, Essex, London and Hertfordshire.

The anti-fascist march assembled in a car park on Bishops Road and set off just after 12.30pm to an area on the north bank of the River Nene. Unfortunately it never went through the main shopping area so most people in Peterborough did not get to see lovely array of banners and were probably unaware that this march had happened.

Meanwhile the EDL supporters gathered in the Peacock Pub on the London Road just south of the river

After a couple of hours they formed up and marched noisily into a special pen provided by the police in the south end of Bridge Street, near the police station for their rally.

Speaker after speaker claimed they were not racist or violent and then went on to relate lurid stories of teenage girls being groomed and abused by predatory Muslim men and claiming outrageously that paedophilia is somehow part of the Islamic religion.

They did include one young mixed race woman who spoke and a gay youth on their platform to give credibility to their claims of being non-racist and non-sexist. There was also a young man in a Royal Navy uniform introduced as “a former soldier” who gave a speech.

Ageing former boxing coach Glen Saffer, in his characteristic deerstalker hat, acted as master of ceremonies. He gave a very imperialistic speech at the wonder that English people are found all over the world because England had invaded and conquered so many places in the past — while decrying immigrants who come to this country simply to work.

Saffer claimed that all members of the National Union of Teachers were supporters of rape and paedophilia because they had been on the anti-fascist march.

Most shoppers ignored them as most of the shopping centre stores continued to trade normally. But a number of local young people did hang around to listen to the ill-informed rants.

Former EDL leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, was not mentioned. The EDL is not what it was a few years ago but it is still hanging on without Robinson and can still confuse and poison the minds of uneducated young people.