Right-wing protesters fail to disrupt pro-Palestinian march
September 14, 2009
Fiona Hamilton, London Correspondent
Right-wing protesters failed in their attempts to disrupt a pro-Palestinian march in central London on Sunday.
The English Defence League, an anti-Islam fringe group, sought to confront an annual pro-Palestinian march through the city, but only mustered about 30 supporters.
Police kept the group away from hundreds demonstrating against Israel’s control of Jerusalem as part of the annual “al-Quds day” (Jerusalem day) march.
A handful of the right-wing activists marched through Piccadilly Circus in the centre of the city’s shopping district shouting “Muslim scum off our streets” before they were barricaded into a small area by police, while the pro-Palestinian supporters marched past.
Bemused tourists watched as the groups exchanged taunts. They were prevented from physical confrontation by large numbers of police.
A Metropolitan Police spokesman said there were no arrests.
The presence of the right-wing activists marked the latest in a series of confrontations in London, Luton and Birmingham.
On Friday there were several arrests as the activists clashed with young Muslims and anti-fascist groups outside a mosque in Harrow, north London.
Another group, called Stop Islamification of Europe, had organised a protest against “violent extremism” outside the Harrow Central Mosque on the anniversary of September 11. However they were vastly outnumbered by up to 2,000 Muslim and anti-fascists, who gathered to “defend the mosque”.
Police used “kettling” tactics — keeping the protesters within a small area — to maintain control and were involved in skirmishes with youths, who threw fireworks and bottles at officers.