Mayor Lutfur Rahman today (September 3rd 2011) defied the ban imposed by the Metropolitan Police on a 30 day ban on all marches in the borough. Spectators claim he Marched from East London Mosque with other councillors and at least a hundred followers along Whitechapel Road, past the Royal London Hospital. Crossing the road at the junction with Sydney Street, at the Blind Beggar he then began marching back through the market, past the Whitechapel Station and ended up where the UAF were holding there planned rally against the perceived threat from the EDL. He then took to the stage and gave a speech.
This is all from a man who was quoted in the East London Advertiser as saying;
“With the EDL march now banned, I call on people not to support any initiatives designed to force confrontation by attempting to defy the ban on all marches. We are a united, peaceful borough, and this weekend is a great opportunity to show just that.”
and also on the councils own website that;
“the mayor of Tower Hamlets is urging anyone planning to come to the borough to protest against the EDL to stay away. – Joint statement from mayor of Tower Hamlets and the borough commander (September 1)“
and yet within the first few seconds of his speech on the podium today I’m told that he thanked everyone who had turned up in the numbers that they had, the organisations who put on the event and also for everyone to stand with the police in opposition to the EDL who were planning to terrorise the community.
What sort of double-speak is this, on the one hand calling for the public not to turn up, and on the other standing tall thanking everyone for the great turnout.
Other councillors have told me that there had also been some agreement made between themselves as Tower Hamlets Councillors to not march like this and everyone had promised to adhere to this.
Mr Rahman said: “I will instruct lawyers to go to the High Court and seek injunctive relief if the police fail to act. We will not let the EDL or any other bunch of extremists divide our community.” He challenged Home Secretary Theresa May to use her powers to stop the EDL coming to Whitechapel on grounds of public safety. East London Advertiser August 25
Why would someone who has threatened our own government with legal action against a march, who has called for people to stay away from the protests that day, then go and march anyway and also speak openly at a podium set up on the day? What message does this send out to everyone out there? Is breaking the law in this way OK?
Last year the EDL called off their planned protest against the troxy holding a conference for preachers of hate of which i wrote about here. Even after being called off the UAF, still held their own demo and march from weavers field to Altab Ali Park led by Lutfur Rahman and George Galloway. That day around 300 local men who had gathered as part of Lutfur Rahmans supported rally against basically, well, nothing, attacked police officers outside East London Mosque.
What Mr Rahman and the rest of his councillors were trying to prove today I cannot understand, and illegally marching whilst threatening legal action against our own government to stop a legally authorised march just about says it all about the hypocritical side to East End politics