176 EDL Supporters Arrested Near Cenotaph Yesterday

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 152 months ago

Last Updated 12 November 2011

176 EDL Supporters Arrested Near Cenotaph Yesterday

A group of English Defence League members were arrested at the Red Lion pub on Parliament Street yesterday, to prevent a breach of the peace.

Earlier in the day, the Met's @CO11 Twitter account had caused a bit of controversy by tweeting

There is a policing operation in place to preserve the dignity of the 2 minute silence. Individuals seeking to disrupt the 2 minute silence will be dealt with robustly. Any police action will be considered & proportionate, respecting those who hold the 2 min silence as a sign of respect. If the memory of dead soldiers is insulted where people have gathered to honour those soldiers there is clearly a threat to public order. Deliberately using abusive or insulting words or behaviour is an offence under Section 4 of the Public Order Act.

It was initially seen as a warning to Muslims Against Crusades, who burned a large poppy near Hyde Park last year and were banned by Home Secretary Theresa May from midnight on Friday - and also as a symbol of new Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe's method of 'total policing', the kind of take-no-prisoners approach that provoked a storm after pre-authorising baton rounds before Wednesday's student protests.

But then came news of the arrest of more than 170 of the far right group's supporters near the Cenotaph. They had originally planned to confront the Muslims Against Crusades demo but, with that being banned, police intelligence reportedly picked up that they switched the target to the Occupy camp at St Paul's. If true, that's a hell of a shift from the group's usual MO of going up against organisations they feel are 'anti British', to simply attacking a peaceful leftie encampment, and will do nothing for the perception that the EDL are all just thugs.

Photo by _JamesDavies from the Londonist Flickr pool