EDL demo at the roundabout
“Are you fash or anti-fash?” asks a reporter from a local newspaper.
The policeman puts it slightly differently: “in favour or against?”
“I’m the local vicar.”
He tells me that it’s his job to keep the two sides apart. Those who are protesting against Shomrim, the Jewish security patrol in Stamford Hill, and those who are protesting against the protesters. He’s not sure where to put me.
“Why don’t you go and stand behind that bush over there?”
I get a good view of the small gathering (I count 18) of English Defence League supporters who have turned up with a banner and a microphone to make their case that the Shomrim is a politically sponsored organisation with an agenda, “unlike the brave Bobbies here who act to protect us without fear or favour”. He paints a doomsday picture of the day when the Shomrim and “the Muslims with their Sharia police” will clamp down on you “if you happen to be a drinker [supporters nodding] or a queer [nodding stops].” He quotes Lord Denning. I think he may also have quoted the bible.
On the opposite side of the road are the antis, giving it some welly for a diverse Hackney, for an open Hackney, pumping their fists, cursing the Nazis: out, out, out.
I spot one of my servers from church wandering down the street, our thurifer. It turns out he is on his way to football and has had to get off the bus because of the backed up traffic around the Leabridge Roundabout. He’s confused about what’s going on.
I encourage him to ask one of the policemen:
“Extreme right wing group,” comes the answer. “Extreme, extreme ring wing.” says another of them.
But they continue to keep the peace. Without fear or favour.
without fear or favour
round and round the Leabridge roundabout we go