Saturday, 3 September 2011

The EDL, UAF and Tower Hamlets

Two "static demonstrations" - one by the the EDL and a counter-demonstration by the UAF (and assorted other organisations) - are planned for today, Saturday 3rd September, in Tower Hamlets
  • both organisations say their demonstrations will be peaceful
  • both organisations are said to 
    • attract troublemakers and hotheads who prefer confrontation to standing around and 
    • have a track record of protest and demonstrations which are not as peaceful as intended
  • a blanket ban on ALL marches by ALL groups in Tower Hamlets and neighbouring local authorities is in force for 30 days from 2nd September (see Protest march prohibition 26th August 2011)
  • However all people planning to attend the static demonstrations will be using public streets and highways, and public transport to get to their planned static assembly point.
  • around 3,000 Police officers will be in the borough to provide substantial policing of BOTH static demonstrations and people moving to and from them
The problem for most of the local population who want to go peacefully about the business is that nobody has bothered to inform the vast majority of the population:
  • where these the protests are likely to be and 
  • which areas might be affected by public disorder! (ie the reason why marches were banned) and hence WHICH AREAS TO AVOID.
This is the situation so far as can be ascertained this morning:

  • the EDL have been and are being prevented from "mustering" at different identified train and underground stations, public houses, supermarket car parks and other car parks in London (mainly due to concerns over health and safety and complete refusal by the owners of private land or property to allow EDL to "muster" on their property)
  • the assumption is that EDL will still attempt to get to a static demonstration somewhere near the East London Mosque in Whitechapel.  At some point they will have to start walking amongst ordinary residents going about their normal business
  • there are indications that EDL members attempting to move from the "muster point" (wherever this is) to the "static assembly" (wherever this is) will be flanked and escorted at all times by police.
UAF Counter demonstration
  • a counter demonstration is taking place - apparently with the agreement of the police - and will be located at the junction of Whitechapel Road and Cambridge Heath Road (that's right next to the Whitechapel Market and the entrance to the Sainsbury's Superstore!)
  • UPDATE:  This started at 11am and has now been changed to the corner of Vallance Road and Whitechapel Road opposite the London Hospital.
  • given that the ban on marches extends to ALL groups, we can only assume that this protest will also be heavily policed UPDATE:  There is a major police presence
  • Labour politicians have advised that people should avoid this area as well - see Politicians call for East Enders to stay away from EDL counter protests


See regular updates on PLACES TO AVOID towards end of this post

Area between Aldgate and Stepney Green
Nobody has told the public which place(s) may see trouble and where they should avoid if they don't want to be involved in any way.

However the MERA Chair is out and about today monitoring what's happening and reports back that there is
  • a heavy police presence on the main road between Aldgate and Stepney Green
  • lots of white vans full of police in side streets off the Whitechapel Road
  • the counter-demonstration has moved away from the main area of the street market and Sainsbury's back to the original planned location at the corner of Vallance Road and Whitechapel Road.  This is of particular relevance to those planning to visit patients in the London Hospital.
  • there are no buses from Mile End running down Whitechapel Road.  The 25 and 210 are going to Aldgate via Burdett Road and Commercial Road.  If the situation at Aldgate becomes unsafe then it's very likely they will stop running. (3.30pm Possible that they are now being diverted via The Highway in order to avoid Aldgate - we are checking) 
  • there is a very significant Police presence at Aldgate.  
  • The Wharf Twitter indicates that:
    • around 20 police riot vans and lines of police officers are preventing people going west of Aldgate (presumably to protect the City of London?)
    • hundreds of people at the UAF protest opposite the London Hospital (junction of Vallance Road)
    • large numbers outside the Mosque
  • East London Advertiser Twitter indicates that 
    • EDL have arrived outside Liverpool Street Station
    • Aldgate is now the site of a blockade across the road  - presumably to prevent groups of UAF from going west and EDL supporters from going east.
  • Mayor Lutfur Rhaman Twitter reports he is at Aldgate East Tube Station and is it is loud, lively and peaceful
UPDATE @ 3.45pm
  • Buses from Mile End are now being diverted to Limehouse and The Highway in order to travel west via Tower Hill
  • All vehicles travelling west down Whitechapel Road are being stopped vt a line of police across the road BEFORE they get to Aldgate.  Vehicles have to turn 
    • north - up Vallance Road to Bethnal Green (through the UAF "static protest")
    • south - down New Road towards Commercial Road
UPDATE @ 4.30pm
  • Police have confirmed that EDL have left the Aldgate area 
  • UAF are returning to their "static demo" site at the corner of Vallance Road 
  • HOWEVER ALL TRAFFIC IS NOW AT A STANDSTILL AT VALLANCE / NEW ROAD / WHITECHAPEL ROAD JUNCTION due to demonstrators standing in the road.  Drivers are strongly recommended to avoid this area and this junction in particular.
UPDATE @ 5pm
If you wish to avoid any chance of potential public disorder and possible violence you should go about your normal business but AVOID:
  • the Whitechapel area (ie between Aldgate and Stepney Green and roads leading to/from Whitechapel Road)
  • Vallance Road and New Street junction with Whitechapel Road 
    • Update @4.30pm - site of UAF so-called "static demo" - people in road preventing vehicles from moving.  
    • Update 5pm Met. Police saying that area returning to normal as people disperse and road being reopened.
  • Leman Street and Aldgate area
  • area between Liverpool Street Station, Bishopsgate and Aldgate
  • Commercial Street and area between Aldgate and Kings Cross/Euston  (re return of EDL to trains/coaches taking them home)
  • Tower Bridge - UPDATE @5pm EDL reportedly kettled on Tower Bridge
  • public transport going to or through that area which today includes the free bus for the District Line.  
    • UPDATE@3pm However all buses which normally travel along the Whitechapel Road are now being diverted for health and safety reasons.  
    • No buses travelling west of Mile End.
  • roads and pavements going to or through that area - if for no other reason than you might find yourself stopped and held up for a long time UPDATE@3pm with no scope to exit down side streets!
Let's all hope that any protests will be peaceful and nobody gets hurt.

Anybody know the difference between a lot of people walking to a protest and a march?


  1. Good to see a sensible voice and sorry for the disruption the organizations demonstrating have caused residents today.

    From twitter it looks like both groups ave elements looking to cause trouble which is wrong regardless of views.

  2. Thank you Kevin

    It's really quite shocking that so little regard has been paid to the needs of the ordinary people of Tower Hamlets wanting go about their normal business in Tower Hamlets this Saturday

    Somebody needs to explain why it was thought they didn't need to be kept well-informed about places to avoid!


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