Has Exeter sparked the end of the EDL?

The EDL faces criticism in the wake of its national demonstration in Exeter.

EDL English Defence League Exeter Together the tab the tab exeter

Last weekend, following the resignation of its co-founder and leader in October, the EDL’s national demonstration in Exeter was intended to be a far-reaching show of strength and solidarity to the rest of the UK.

However, whilst around 3,000 far-right activists demonstrated at the peak of the organisation’s popularity in February 2011, barely 250 turned out to protest over the weekend in Exeter, and the demonstration is now being heralded in the media as a sign of the EDL’s demise.

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 22.58.33

EDL members standing outside the Locomotive Inn.

According to Devon and Cornwall police, officers made four arrests during the event. Two demonstrators were also found to be carrying offensive weapons.

In response to the EDL’s attendance, Matthew Collins, member of anti-fascism group Hope not Hate, told IBTimes UK: “They had a short lived peak following the killing and now they are back to the sort of turn-out they were getting before that.

Screen Shot 2013-11-16 at 23.06.40

Banner unfurled, the EDL begin their march into central Exeter.

“People are seeing after four or five years of standing around in car parks, getting drunk and screaming abuse, that nobody is listening to them. That is because they have nothing coherent to say.”

Opposing their claim that University of Exeter’s ties with the Middle East was the main reason, an EDL insider told IBTimes UK that Exeter was chosen as a location simply because it is within driving distance for the group’s Dorset-based leader, Tim Ablitt.

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 01.40.56

University of Exeter students protest with Exeter Together.

Protesting against the EDL, an estimated 1,000 demonstrators turned out for the demonstration organised by Exeter Together, gathering in Bedford Park before marching into Princesshay’s Bedford Square.

Hannah Packham, an Exeter Together spokesperson, said: “Exeter has united in saying that we love the rich diversity of the city, which helps to make it the great place it is. Our message is clear: the EDL with their racist, divisive politics are not welcome in Exeter.”

To keep up to speed with the latest student news, like The Tab Exeter on Facebook.