I’ve been covering the rise of the far-right, anti-Islamic English Defence League for the last year or so now. Their protests across the county have grown considerably from the few hundred that I first photographed in Birmingham, to the thousands in Dudley this past weekend.
Hallmarks of the EDL are insobriety, violence and racism. Their violence is often unprovoked and directed indiscriminately at whoever is nearest; be they police, press or anti-fascist protesters. Journalists who have exposed the EDL’s true nature have received death threats and photographers often come under a hail of glass bottles and coins when covering their protests.
The EDL are the only political group in the UK holding regular protests every month attracting thousands of supporters from around the country. Unite Against Fascism, which usually call counter-protests to the EDL, originally outnumbered them 2:1 now the opposite is true.
The threat from the EDL is real and growing. As journalists we must ensure their violent, racist core is exposed. The EDL are not simply “Peacefully protesting against militant Islam” as their publicity rather quaintly says and we must show that.