English Defence League march in London is blocked

The EDL wanted to stage a march through five boroughs in London next week

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Plans by the English Defence League (EDL) to march through five London boroughs have been blocked for 30 days by the home secretary, Theresa May.

The EDL wanted to demonstrate in Tower Hamlets, Newham, Waltham Forest, Islington and Hackney on 3 September.

The Metropolitan (Met) Police feared there could be violence and disorder if the marches went ahead.

Mrs May says all rallies, not just those by the EDL, are banned, to protect "communities and property".

Stephen Lennon, the EDL's founder, said his group would "still show up" in Tower Hamlets next week, however.

"We'll have a static demonstration and we'll have our voices heard," he told BBC London.

A statement on the EDL's website said the decision was "restricting our democratic right to peaceful protest".

"Nowadays, the anti-extremism aims of our organisation are clear, and there is no reason to think that an EDL demonstration would contain any dangerous elements," it added.

'Specific intelligence'

Mrs May said in a statement: "Having carefully considered the legal tests in the Public Order Act and balanced rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected, I have given my consent to a ban on all marches in Tower Hamlets and four neighbouring boroughs for a 30-day period."

She added: "I know that the Metropolitan Police are committed to using their powers to ensure communities and properties are protected," she added.

"We encourage all local people and community leaders to work with the police to ensure community relations are not undermined by public disorder."

The Met said it had received "specific intelligence" which led it to believe that "serious public disorder, violence and damage could be caused by the presence of marches in these areas".

Banning the rallies was "this is the best option to prevent this", it added.

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