EDL to spread its far-right creed to new target towns


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Indy Politics

The English Defence League will target at least two new areas this year as it attempts to broaden its reach. The far-right group has announced its first six planned demonstrations, with the first taking place tomorrow.

The news comes two months after the arrests of more than 170 EDL supporters during a demonstration at Whitehall in London on Armistice Day. In an email to members, seen by The Independent, the group said Bristol and Walsall - towns not previously targeted - had been identified as good sites for marches.

The group, which has been involved in clashes with police and Muslim groups, also announced plans to demonstrate in Luton and Dewsbury on unspecified dates, as well as in Leicester next month. It will hold a smaller gathering in Barking, east London, tomorrow.

Last year saw the highest number of individual demonstrations by the EDL since its launch in 2009. The email, sent to members this week, added that other demonstrations were planned throughout the year.

Last year The Independent revealed that the group was planning to move into politics after an alliance with the far-right British Freedom Party was finalised. It was said that a "gentleman's agreement" existed between the groups, to offer each other mutual support.

Weyman Bennett, of Unite Against Fascism, said yesterday: "The EDL are trying to spread their racist arguments across the country and they will be vigorously opposed wherever they go to try to divide people."

In a video circulated with the email, EDL leader Stephen Yaxely-Lennon said he had been beaten up by a group of Muslims.

The English Defence League has held more than 50 demonstrations, many resulting in violent clashes, and is planning at least six more. Click HERE to see an interactive map of its activities.