Cam Students Fight Back Against EDL

CUAF will oppose an EDL march next month with a counter protest planned for the same day.

cambridge city council cambridge unite against fascism christina sweeney-baird CUAF edl English Defence League gavin shuker kelvin hopkins King's Labour Party lewis herbert Magdalene richard howitt

The EDL has proposed a march through Cambridge on Saturday 23rd February 2013. A counter protest has been planned for the same day by Cambridge Unite Against Fascism (CUAF).

According to this Facebook event, over 600 people will be attending the protest, whilst hundreds more have signed a unity statement opposing the EDL’s march.

The EDL is a far-right protest group that marches against the perceived spread of Islam in English society. Many of its previous protests have involved violence and arrests. In December 2011 an EDL activist was one of two men jailed for 10 years for an arson attack on a mosque. The organisation claims to have 100,000 members, but it is in fact thought to have around 30,000.

A number of politicians and councillors have also shown their support for the Cambridge Unite Against Fascism plans. Richard Howitt MEP has said: ‘I urge all the decent people of Cambridge to attend this counter demonstration to show their opposition to racism.’ Other supporters include Kelvin Hopkins MP, Gavin Shuker MP and Cllr Lewis Herbert (leader of the Labour group on Cambridge City Council).

A public meeting has been organised for Monday 11th February at 7.30, with the venue still to be confirmed. The meeting will involve various local politicians and trade union leaders speaking about ways to defend a multicultural Cambridge.

Academics and activists are also organising an anti-fascist ‘teach-in’ to be held at King’s College, Cambridge. This educational event is to be held on 17th February 2013 and will raise awareness before the march.

Cambridge students have varying opinions about the EDL’s right to march. A 2nd year Natsci at Magdalene told The Tab: ‘I look forward to the EDL being crushed by the free speech they’re hiding behind.’

Meanwhile, Will Thong, a first year lawyer, said: ‘To sound a bit like a pretentious twat and misquote Evelyn Beatrice Hall, ‘I disapprove of what you say, but I would willingly be a student at The Other Place for your right to say it.’

A first year English student said: ‘Honestly I loathe the EDL. I think that they should be defined as a hate group and shouldn’t have the right to protest. Of course I’m going to the counter protest but I’d rather it wasn’t necessary.’

The specific time of the protest is yet to be confirmed.