The EDL is holding a demonstration in East London, with a counter demo led by Unite Against Fascism.
The EDL is holding a demonstration in East London, with a counter demo led by Unite Against Fascism.

The English Defence League will hold what it claims is the biggest demonstration in its history on Saturday, despite being prevented by the High Court from marching to the East London Mosque in Whitechapel.

The far-right organisation wanted to hold the rally in an area of London's Tower Hamlets which they claim is "subject to Sharia law", but Judge Mr Justice King ruled that a police decision to impose restrictions over fears of "serious public disorder" was reasonable and proportionate.

Scotland Yard said the route of the march will stop a third of a mile short of its intended destination and take a route that includes Queen Elizabeth Street, Tower Bridge Road, Tower Bridge Approach, The Minories and Aldgate High Street.

Police lawyers told the High Court that people taking part in EDL marches could be "unreasonably" provocative.

Between 1,000 and 2,000 people are expected to take part in the march and "several thousand" in counter demonstrations organised by groups including Unite Against Fascism (UAF).

The UAF is expecting anti-EDL protesters to congregate in Whitechapel's Altab Ali Park.

The park was renamed in 1998 in memory of Altab Ali, a 25-year-old Bangladeshi clothing worker who was murdered in 1978 by three teenage boys as he walked home from work. At the entrance to the park is an arch created by David Peterson, dedicated as a memorial to Ali and other victims of racist attacks.

Around 500 stewards are standing by the East London Mosque to maintain order and prevent a flare-up of violence when the EDL meets the counter-demonstration.

"I'd rather we used the charity's money towards doing good work for the people, providing help to vulnerable women, providing education to people who need it, but every time the EDL raise their ugly head we have to have round-the-clock security," the mosque's deputy director Shaynul Khan told The Guardian.

"When you're provoking young people like that, the only thing that's going to happen is a reaction," he said. "That's what they [the EDL] want and that's something we want to control. But how are we going to police 2,000 young people?"