Throughout the looting/riots, the EDL attempted to capitalise on the situation, and use it as an excuse to promote themselves and as an excuse for some violence.
Cambridge saw EDL vigilantes clear Mill Road (an important road in the town centre) of imaginary looters, only to be told by local traders that they were not welcome. Meanwhile a senior Met police officer warned of more attempts by the EDL to hijack local communities defending themselves, with places like Enfield being hit.
Nor did the EDL stick to its alleged belief of only being anti-Islamic extremism. An EDL gang attacked a bus with black youths on it in London, whilst EDL posters online flooded forums with racist language directed primarily against blacks:
The English Defence League have reverted to type, with torrents of sickening anti-black racism on their divisional Facebook walls, peppered with the N-word, and description of black people being “monkeys” and “apes”. Since their existance, the moderators have tried to brush all of their non-Muslim racism under the carpet, pretending that the EDL have only one enemy, Muslims, but since the rioting began in London, the far right group have switched tack to virulent anti-Black racism of an extreme and disturbing nature.
Now graffiti is going up condemning the riots, signed by the EDL. Compare and contrast such behaviour with how many victims of the looting reacted. In Birmingham, Tariq Jahan, the father of one of the three men killed by looters, called for calm:
Today we stand here to plead with all the youth to remain calm, for our communities to stand united. This is not a race issue. The family has received messages of sympathy and support from all parts of society … I lost my son. Blacks, Asians, whites – we all live in the same community. Why do we have to kill one another? Why are we doing this? Step forward if you want to lose your sons. Otherwise, calm down and go home – please.”
Others held vigils or banded together to clean up the area. If there is a silver lining in all this senseless violence and destruction then it will be the renewed bonds that now exist between many people in the worst affected areas, which is what a healthy society depends on.
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