On February 1st of this year, members from the far- right organisation ‘The English Defence League’ lead a protest in the nearby town of Slough. Announced as part of a series of demos across the country, a statement on the group’s website states that the demo is against the conversion of a local community centre into a mosque and the creation of an all-girls Muslim faith-school in the area.
The controversial group had a conflicting 2013, seeing an upsurge in activity following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby by a pair of extremists, holding protests up and down the country. This was followed by the resignation of its leader, Tommy Robinson, in October stating his concerns for growing far- right extremism in the group as his reason. The February demo will be one of the first under new Leader Tim Ablitt – a member of the Dorset arm of the group, who was arrested in 2010 over a suspected bomb plot on a Bournemouth mosque.
Local activist group Berkshire Antifascists called a counter demo on the same date, and the Students’ Union at Royal Holloway turned up on the day to support the Antifascist group.
President Amarbeer Singh Gill had stated prior to the event: ‘The EDL are a violent group who stand against the notions of equality and tolerance that the student movement was built on. We invite students from all backgrounds to join us on February 1st to say no to racism and fascism on our streets!’
Slough Borough Council stated that they are aware of the statements from the EDL and are liaising with the police over the matter.
Article: Corinna Taylor