The English Defence League has marched through Whitehall to Downing Street in response to the killing of drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich last week.

The group met at a Wetherspoon pub close to the cenotaph on Monday afternoon before beginning their march, with reports they were singing God Save The Queen and chanting 'E E E EDL' as they started their route, surrounded by police.

Around 500 people took part in the demonstration, ITV's Ben Chapman said.

edl demonstration london

The group gathered at a Wetherspoons pub before setting off

Protesters chanted "Muslim killers off our streets" and "There's only one Lee Rigby" holding placards that read "Blood on your hands" and "GB RIP".

They were also heard chanting "We hate David Cameron".

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Police have escorted the protesters through the streets

A massive police presence kept them separate from a smaller group of anti-fascist activists, with officers making 13 arrests in total for a range of public-order offences.

The demonstrators marched through Admiralty Arch and onto Parliament Square.

They were escorted by Metropolitan Police officers and vans, while a force helicopter followed overhead.

edl demonstration london

The EDL leader called for an 'English Spring'

EDL leader Tommy Robinson told the demonstration: "This is a day of respect for our Armed Forces."

The crowd repeatedly chanted "coward" after he claimed Prime Minister David Cameron was on holiday "because he doesn't care".

Mr Robinson added: "They've had their Arab Spring. This is time for the English Spring."


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Protesters plan to end the march at Downing St


A smaller group of Unite Against Fascism conducted a separate march to protest against the EDL, gathering opposite the group holding "EDL Racists" banners.

Both sides traded insults but were kept apart by officers and barriers.

Pictures show the police presence is even larger than either group, in a bid to keep them separated.

edl londonThere is a large police presence on the streets


Journalist Laurie Penny, who is at the scene, has been tweeting updates.


Laurie Penny
Anti-fascist demo much larger and already in a moving kettle. Lots of dogs and more police, who seem more edgy on this side.


Laurie Penny
'EDL, off our streets!' chant has same rhythm as 'E, E, !' Making a strange echo between the two demos.

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edl london

Photos courtesy of ITV/Ben Chapman

UAF said in a statement prior to the march:" We reject the attempt by fascist organisations such as the English Defence League and British National Party to exploit the murder [of Lee Rigby] to whip up racism and direct hatred towards all Muslims. "

edl london

Protesters chanted 'There's only one Lee Rigby'

Separately on Monday vandals attacked two war memorials in central London.

Although the words written on the two memorials have now been covered up, it is thought "Islam" had been written on the RAF Bomber Command War Memorial and the Animals in War Memorial .

The incidents are being treated as criminal damage, police said.

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  • Anti-fascist and EDL demonstrations take place in London. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Anti-fascist and EDL demonstrations take place in London. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Anti-fascist and EDL demonstrations take place in London. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • A protester gestures as he joins an English Defence League march down Whitehall towards Downing Street on May 27, 2013 in London, England. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. A counter demonstration is planned by the group Unite Against Facism as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Police officers move into position as they react to members of the English Defence League marching through Whitehall towards Downing Street on May 27, 2013 in London, England. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. A counter demonstration is planned by the group Unite Against Facism as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Protestors display a 'Help the Heroes' banner as the English Defence League march down Whitehall towards Downing Street on May 27, 2013 in London, England. The EDL have protested what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. A counter demonstration is planned by the group Unite Against Facism as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • A protester gestures while draped in a Union flag as the English Defence League march down Whitehall towards Downing Street on May 27, 2013 in London, England. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. A counter demonstration is planned by the group Unite Against Facism as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Police officers marshall members of the English Defence League as they march down Whitehall towards Downing Street protesting the lack of support and protection given to British troops on May 27, 2013 in London, England. A counter demonstration is planned by the group Unite Against Facism as tensions run high across certain communities following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Anti-fascist and EDL demonstrations take place in London. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Anti-fascist and EDL demonstrations take place in London. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson speaks to supporters during a rally outside Downing Street on May 27, 2013 in London, England. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. A counter demonstration is planned by the group Unite Against Facism as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Anti-fascist and EDL demonstrations take place in London. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Anti-fascist and EDL demonstrations take place in London. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Anti-fascist and EDL demonstrations take place in London. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Anti-fascist and EDL demonstrations take place in London. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Anti-fascist and EDL demonstrations take place in London. The EDL are protesting what the group sees as a lack of support and protection given to British troops following the terror attack last week, in which soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in a knife and machete attack by two Muslim men outside Woolwich Barracks. as tensions run high across certain communities. (Photo by Peter Madiarmid/Getty Images)