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Thousands expected in Whitechapel today to oppose EDL march

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 September 2013

EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon speaking to demonstrators at Aldgate Station at a march in 2011. Photo by PA

EDL founder Stephen Yaxley-Lennon speaking to demonstrators at Aldgate Station at a march in 2011. Photo by PA

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Thousands of anti-fascist protestors are set to turn out today to oppose a march through east London by far right organisation the English Defence League (EDL).

Campaign group Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is expecting supporters to flock to a demonstration in Whitechapel’s Altab Ali Park to protest against the controversial EDL march.

Opposition activists are set to gather at the park, near the East London Mosque, from 11am this morning.

The EDL is billing its demonstration event as the biggest in its history - but leaders yesterday failed in a High Court bid to overturn conditions imposed by Scotland Yard preventing them marching to the East London Mosque.

Lawyers representing the EDL in the High Court yesterday said the organisation wanted to highlight concerns that Tower Hamlets is subject to Sharia law, and that people had been assaulted for failing to comply.

They added that the EDL - which describes itself as a “human rights organisation” and says it believes that “proponents of radical Islam have a stranglehold on British Muslims” - wanted to demonstrate peacefully.

Restrictions imposed by police mean the march can only take place between 12pm and 3pm, and has to follow a defined route, starting south of Tower Bridge, along The Minories and Aldgate High Street and not beyond the corner of Mansell Street.

The UAF demonstration – also subject to Scotland Yard restrictions – will take place between Whitechurch Lane and the East London Mosque, starting at 11am and continuing until 4pm at the latest.

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