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EDL Threatened With Arrest Over Woolwich Gathering Plans

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Members of the English Defence League take part in a demonstration in Blackburn, Lancashire. | PA

Far-right English Defence League (EDL) supporters have been threatened with arrest if they gather at the site where soldier Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered this weekend.

The group, led by Tommy Robinson, previously announced plans to walk across east London via the East London Mosque and ultimately assemble outside Woolwich Barracks, where Drummer Rigby was hacked to death in broad daylight last month.

But the Metropolitan Police has now applied conditions on the proposed march, imposing a route between Hyde Park Corner and ending at Old Palace Yard, opposite the House of Lords, and has ordered that the planned gathering can only take place at Old Palace Yard for a maximum of two hours.

tommy robinson

Members of the EDL were planning to gather at the site where Lee Rigby was murdered

The police force said the conditions were imposed due to fears that both the march and gathering would "result in serious public disorder and serious disruption to the life of the community" and a breach of the conditions would be a criminal offence.

Earlier this week, two American political activists who founded an anti-Muslim group were banned by the Home Secretary from entering the UK following reports they were to attend this weekend's march.

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who set up Stop Islamization of America and run the website Jihad Watch, have been forbidden from entering the country on the grounds their presence would ''not be conducive to the public good''.

pamela geller

US anti-Islam activists Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer

The letter to Geller and Spencer, marked 'Private and Confidential', warns them against travelling to the UK and was posted on their blogs. It read:

"The Home Secretary has reached this decision because you have brought yourself within the scope of the list of unacceptable behaviours by making statements that may foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK."

The Met said it had attempted to liaise with the EDL to facilitate the march and gathering and offered them two alternative routes that avoided the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, home to the East London Mosque.

A statement from the police force said: "To date the organisers have declined to agree to either of these alternative routes."

Scotland Yard decided to issue two notices under the Public Order Act based on "current community tensions, the current intelligence picture about Saturday and recent marches and protests held by similar groups".

Earlier this month, the police banned the British National Party (BNP) from marching from Woolwich Barracks and ordered it to move its protest to Westminster.

The event saw rival protesters clash outside the Houses of Parliament, as BNP supporters and anti-fascist campaigners came to blows.

As well as laying flowers in memory of Drummer Rigby in Woolwich, Mr Robinson and his co-leader Kevin Carroll had planned to walk to raise money for a young girl fighting against neuroblastoma.

The EDL's Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll had announced a fundraising walk for toddler Amelia-Mae Davies, whose family are hoping to get treatment for her in the US for the rare cancer. However a cancer charity pulled the fundraising page for a two-year-old girl suffering from neuroblastoma.

A spokeswoman for the Neuroblastoma Children’s Cancer Alliance told HuffPost UK that the charity would reimburse the money raised by the EDL and said the charity is "politically neutral and, as such, is not associated with the EDL and its fundraising activities."

Reacting to the Met's decision, Mr Robinson said: "The police are enforcing no-go zones for non-Muslims. It's a charity walk with two people taking part.

"When has a Muslim charity walk ever been made to have conditions?"