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A Celebration of Diversity against Racism
on the 10th Anniversary of the defeat of the
English Defence League

We were a community fighting fascism

Marching against fascism

Waltham Forest residents have a proud history of standing up to racism and fascism to defend our multicultural community - and we're going to celebrate it.

Back in September 2012, over 4,000 of us took to the streets to fight off a march by the far-right English Defence League, aimed at intimidating Walthamstow's large Muslim population.

Our counter-protest not only massively out-numbered these thugs but sneakily out-manoeuvred them too, with a spontaneous sit-down protest that blocked their path and forced their retreat.

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of this historic victory on 1st September, we're organising a week of events.

This amazing local protest was seen as a significant nail in the coffin for the EDL, which started marauding across the country just a year after the 2008 financial crash.

They targeted multicultural areas like ours, exploiting the anger and fear created by the crash and worsened by Cameron and Clegg's austerity government, and within a year were drawing thousands to their protests.

By the time the EDL tried to march through Walthamstow, it was the height of the London Olympics, an irony not lost on residents, who argued that the EDL whipping up hatred against Muslims did not align with the games' diversity goals.

Despite this, some local politicians at the time were not wholly supportive of our right to protest in defence of our community, arguing we should instead ignore the EDL.

The residents who formed We Are Waltham Forest disagreed. As teachers, writers, parents, pensioners, youth workers, academics, carers, artists and trade unionists, we argued that "ignoring" those threatening and denigrating our community was impossible.

We could not leave the Muslim community isolated to endure these attacks. Fascism threatens all of us and history has shown you can't remain silent. We knew we had to show how unified we were as a community and expose the racism of scapegoating Islam.

Marching against fascism
Red Arrow