LONDON – The far-right English Defense League said its leader and deputy chief were arrested Saturday after breaching a police order banning a rally at the site where a soldier was murdered in London last month.
Scotland Yard had warned EDL head Tommy Robinson and his members they faced arrest if they went ahead with the planned rally at the barracks in Woolwich, southeast London, where Lee Rigby was hacked to death. Two British converts to Islam are due to stand trial over the murder in November.
Police said the EDL’s plans risked causing “serious public disorder” and told the group to hold their rally, timed to mark Armed Forces Day in Britain, near Parliament, in central London.
The EDL campaigns against what it says is the spread of radical Islam in Britain, but it has been accused of Islamophobia, and previous rallies have ended in clashes with anti-fascist groups.
Despite the police warning, Robinson went ahead with a sponsored walk through the capital with EDL co-leader Kevin Carroll to raise money for a children’s cancer charity.
The movement said both were arrested as they entered Tower Hamlets, an east London borough with a sizable Muslim community and a large mosque, while on their way to Woolwich.