11 May 2015
On Saturday May 9th, Members of Waltham Forest & Redbridge Green Party joined a counter-demonstration numbering over 1000 against the far-right English Defence League (EDL) marching through Walthamstow. The purpose of the EDL march was to intimidate and divide residents, and to foster hatred of the Muslim community. But Waltham Forest is a genuinely multi-cultural society, and members of all of its communities joined together on the day to voice strong opposition to the EDL.
The anti – EDL demonstration included a rally with a number of speakers including Dr Shaukat Khan, Chair of Walthamstow Migrants Action Group, Father Steven Saxby of St.Barnabas Church, and Green MEP Jean Lambert
Jean Lambert concluded her speech by saying "We need to oppose those who would spread hatred and division – who are not interested in universal rights but their own supremacy. We need to stand together for our common future.”
A massive police presence was deployed to keep order, despite only a hundred or so members of the EDL being involved. This will cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of pounds. Police used a high degree of caution, preventing local residents from going about their business and forcing shops to close. Many of the largely peaceful counter-demonstrators felt that they, rather than the EDL, were being treated as the problem.
Rebecca Tully of the Green Party said "I was so proud to be part of such a strong, good natured voice rejecting such an idiotic visit today from the EDL. And even prouder to see so many faces of amazing Green Party friends, who have and will continue to campaign on the facts of immigration and not the fictitious rhetoric."