EDL members arrested on Whitehall

By politics.co.uk staff

Members of the English Defence League (EDL) who had been set to challenge a poppy-burning have been arrested for breach of the peace.

They had planned to counter-protest against a planned poppy burning by the radical Islamic group Muslims Against Crusades outside the Royal Albert Hall.

But after home secretary Theresa May proscribed the group, making them illegal, the EDL encouraged its members to congregate on Whitehall to observe the two-minute silence.

Fifty-seven arrests were made for breach of the peace this afternoon, the Metropolitan police said. The EDL members were rounded up in a coach outside the Red Lion pub.

MAC had originally planned a 'hell for heroes' demonstration at the same location as their infamous poppy burning during the Armistice Day two-minute silence last year.

However, with the news that the group was to become a proscribed organisation, leader Anjem Choudary announced that the protest would not go ahead.

This news came in the wake of raids by police officers from the counter-terrorism command on locations connected to MAC, including Choudary's home.

Choudary said that the raids amounted to nothing more than a "fishing expedition" and that he was not concerned because he had done nothing illegal.

"Obviously it's inconvenient, but that doesn't stop me propagating what I believe", he added.

On cancelling the protest, Choudary said that the decision to proscribe MAC resulted in the group's message "going viral", so the protest was no longer needed.

Shaynul Kahn, the director of East London mosque, welcomed the decision, stating: "Proscribing them means there is recognition of their separatist agenda and we look forward to news reports and discussions without them being the 'representative' voice of Islam."