UPDATE: English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson was arrested in London on the controversial march that was prevented from going through the centre of one of Britain's biggest Muslim communities.


Leaders of the Muslim community in East London have held a demonstration to protest a nearby march by the English Defence League (EDL) at Tower Bridge.

According to Scotland Yard, two arrests have been made - one for possession of a pointed blade and another of someone who was in possession of a firework. It is not know whether the men arrested were part of the EDL or one of the counter demonstrations.

The EDL lost a high court battle on Friday after police prohibited a much larger gathering in borough of Tower Hamlets, which the far right group has alleged is now subject to Sharia law.

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Police detain a man as the English Defence League march in east London

Thousand of people gathered at Altab Ali Park in Aldgate East after morning prayers, flanked by a heavy police presence. One attendee to the Press Association they were there to show they "can not live with hatred".

On the outskirts of Tower Hamlets, members of the EDL held a restricted march, closely monitored by officers from the Met. The group’s original plan had been to walk straight through the borough, however the High Court upheld the police’s decision to ban the protest out of concern it would spark violence.

John Biggs, who sits on the London Assembly for Labour and Lutfur Rahmen, the mayor of Tower Hamlets, were among the campaigners at the park.

"We just want to get on with our normal lives," said Rahmen, adding: "We are celebrating peace and tranquillity. We are not espousing violence. The people who want to talk about violence and inflict violence and hate on others can just go back to their nests and their holes. We are a united community and we are a diverse community. Young people are not coming out today because they are frightened."

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Police struggle to hold back the EDL march near Tower Bridge

The mayor excoriated the EDL and their extreme views for “unsettling” the community. “They propagate fear and insecurity and hatred - we can not accept that extreme minority view," he said.

Biggs was equally condemnatory, questioning why the EDL march had not been completely banned.

He said: "Tower Hamlets is a vibrant and diverse borough which I am proud to call home. Like many other areas of our country, there are problems such as unemployment and poverty but the EDL blame "others" for our country's problems in an attempt to divide us".

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The EDL march went ahead despite the High Court ruling

More from the Press Association:

ELM assistant executive director Shaynul Khan said the announcement of the EDL march had shot " a feeling of fear" among the community. Many people, including local traders who would normally be working on a busy Saturday in the current economic climate, had "preferred to stay at home rather than risk anything happening" to them, he claimed.

Khan said: " It is not the right place to have this kind of demonstration. Any location which has had an EDL demonstration in the past has always seen it descend in to some level of violence or vandalism - whether it is bricks going through a window or the public being attacked.

"There is a strong feeling from the vulnerable, particularly from those who are easily identifiable because of their religious dress, that if the English Defence League are here then they are not safe. I am sure that with that come a large sense of fear."

EDL leaders had wanted to rally in an area in Tower Hamlets which they say is ''subject to Sharia law'', but Judge Mr Justice King on Friday ruled that a police decision to impose restrictions over fears of ''serious public disorder'' was reasonable and proportionate.

Police said the route of the march - which must take place between midday and 3pm - will include Queen Elizabeth Street, Tower Bridge Road, Tower Bridge Approach, The Minories and then into Aldgate High Street. Organisers have been told they must not to go beyond the junction with Mansell Street.

Scotland Yard said senior officers had decided to stop the march a third of a mile short of its intended destination in the hope of preventing ''serious'' disorder.

(Article continues after the gallery)

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  • EDL march

    The English Defence League (EDL) at a march in east London despite losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    The English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson, also known as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, at a march in east London despite losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    A member of the public watches the English Defence League (EDL) as they march in east London, the protest has gone ahead despite losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    English Defence League (EDL) march in east London, the protest has gone ahead despite losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    The English Defence League (EDL) leader Tommy Robinson, also known as Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, speaks at a march in east London that has gone ahead despite losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    Police lines near Tower Bridge in London as the English Defence League (EDL) march despite them losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    The English Defence League (EDL) march near Tower Bridge in London despite losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    The English Defence League (EDL) march near Tower Bridge in London despite losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    Members of the UAF gather during an English Defence League (EDL)march in east London that has gone ahead despite losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    Police hold back the English Defence League (EDL) march near Tower Bridge in London despite them losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    ALTERNATIVE CROPThe English Defence League (EDL) at a march in east London despite losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    Police detain a man as the English Defence League (EDL) march in east London that has gone ahead despite losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • EDL march

    Police hold back the English Defence League (EDL) march near Tower Bridge in London despite them losing a High Court battle over where they are allowed to demonstrate.

  • Drummer Lee Rigby murder

    Members of the EDL lay a wreath during a march in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

  • Drummer Lee Rigby murder

    A members of the EDL is led away by police after march in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

  • Drummer Lee Rigby murder

    Members of the EDL clash with anti-fascist supporters after march in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

  • Drummer Lee Rigby murder

    Members of the EDL clash with anti-fascist supporters after march in Leeds, West Yorkshire.

  • EDL march in London

    EDL demonstrators on Whitehall near to outside Downing Street, London.

  • BRITAIN-ATTACKS-TRIAL-FARRIGHT

    Members of the English Defence League (EDL) pose for a photograph with EDL leader Tommy Robinson (3rd R) outside the Old Bailey, in London, on June 6, 2013. The EDL gathered outside the Old Bailey Thursday during the sentencing of six men who planned a terror attack on an EDL rally in 2012. The plot failed when the men arrived at the event two hours too late. Omar Mohammed Khan, Mohammed Hasseen, Anzal Hussain, Mohammed Saud, Zohaib Ahmed and Jewel Uddin were in court at the start of a two-day sentencing. AFP PHOTO/ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • BRITAIN-ATTACKS-TRIAL-FARRIGHT

    Members of the English Defence League (EDL) pose for a photograph with EDL leader Tommy Robinson (2nd R) outside the Old Bailey, in London, on June 6, 2013. The EDL gathered outside the Old Bailey Thursday during the sentencing of six men who planned a terror attack on an EDL rally in 2012. The plot failed when the men arrived at the event two hours too late. Omar Mohammed Khan, Mohammed Hasseen, Anzal Hussain, Mohammed Saud, Zohaib Ahmed and Jewel Uddin were in court at the start of a two-day sentencing. AFP PHOTO/ADRIAN DENNIS (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images)

  • EDL rally terror plot

    English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson (right) with English Defence League supporters outside the Old Bailey in central London, as six Islamic extremists are sentenced for plotting a deadly attack on an EDL rally.

  • EDL rally terror plot

    English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson with supporters outside the Old Bailey in central London, as six Islamic extremists are sentenced for plotting a deadly attack on an EDL rally.

  • EDL rally terror plot

    English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson (centre) with EDL supporters outside the Old Bailey in central London, as six Islamic extremists are sentenced for plotting a deadly attack on an EDL rally.

  • EDL rally terror plot

    English Defence League supporters secure flags to barriers outside the Old Bailey in central London, as six Islamic extremists are sentenced for plotting a deadly attack on an EDL rally.

  • EDL rally terror plot

    English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson outside the Old Bailey in central London, as six Islamic extremists are sentenced for plotting a deadly attack on an EDL rally.

  • EDL rally terror plot

    English Defence League supporters outside the Old Bailey in central London, as six Islamic extremists are sentenced for plotting a deadly attack on an EDL rally.

  • EDL rally terror plot

    An English Defence League supporter outside the Old Bailey in central London, as six Islamic extremists are sentenced for plotting a deadly attack on an EDL rally.

  • EDL tactics questionable

    File photo dated 06/06/13 of English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson (centre) with EDL supporters outside the Old Bailey in central London, as Robinson has admitted the far-right group the has "completely questionable" tactics.

  • EDL March In Woolwich

    WOOLWICH, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Supporters of the EDL are shadowed by police officers on June 29, 2013 in Woolwich, England. Supporters of the English Defence League have gathered at the site where Drummer Lee Rigby was killed, to mark Armed Forces Day. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

  • EDL March In Woolwich

    WOOLWICH, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: A supporter of the EDL with a large tattoo on his back on June 29, 2013 in Woolwich, England. Supporters of the English Defence League have gathered at the site where Drummer Lee Rigby was killed, to mark Armed Forces Day. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

  • EDL March In Woolwich

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: A close up view of joint EDL leader Tommy Robinson's legs as he walks down The Mall on June 29, 2013 in London, England. The leaders of the English Defence League, Tommy Robinson and co-leader Kevin Carroll planned to march from Hyde Park to Woolwich to raise money for a young girl fighting against neuroblastoma, but were arrested outside Aldgate East Tube Station. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

  • EDL March In Woolwich

    WOOLWICH, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: A supporter of the EDL gestures to the public on June 29, 2013 in Woolwich, England. Supporters of the English Defence League have gathered at the site where Drummer Lee Rigby was killed, to mark Armed Forces Day. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

  • EDL March In Woolwich

    WOOLWICH, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: A supporter of the EDL gestures to the media on June 29, 2013 in Woolwich, England. Supporters of the English Defence League have gathered at the site where Drummer Lee Rigby was killed, to mark Armed Forces Day. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

  • EDL March In Woolwich

    WOOLWICH, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: A supporter of the EDL gestures to the public on June 29, 2013 in Woolwich, England. Supporters of the English Defence League have gathered at the site where Drummer Lee Rigby was killed, to mark Armed Forces Day. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images)

  • Drummer Lee Rigby murder

    Anti-fascist supporters clash with police as they are moved on before the EDL march reaches Leeds City Square.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    People gather before an EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    An EDL member is attend by police during an EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    A man holds a flag during a EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    People participate in an EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    EDL members face up to the police during a EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    EDL members clash with the police during a EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    EDL membe vlash with the police during a EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    EDITORS NOTE GESTURES. People gather before an EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    EDL members clash with the police during a EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    A EDL member receives first aid from the police after being injured during a EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    People participate in an EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    A woman with an Algerian flag is removed by police as EDL members gather march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    An injured EDL member gives a victory sign during a EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    EDITORS NOTE GESTURES. People gather before an EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    Riot police during an EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

  • EDL march in Birmingham

    A man wearing an EDL polo shirt has his head bandaged during an EDL march at Centenary Square in Birmingham.

Police lawyers told the High Court hearing that people taking part in EDL marches could be ''unreasonably'' provocative. They said between 1,000 and 2,000 people would take part in the EDL march and ''several thousand'' in counter demonstrations by groups including Unite Against Fascism.

Ahead of the march, a message on the EDL website declared: "We're returning to Tower Hamlets! Our reasons haven't changed and neither has our commitment to peaceful protest. Only by working with the police can we make the return to Tower Hamlets a success and get our voices heard."