EDL-organised memorial march passes off peacefully

A silent walk organised by the EDL in memory of murdered soldier Lee Rigby has passed through Hemel Hempstead peacefully.

The memorial march began at 12.30pm this afternoon from Midland Road. The Midland Hotel, where the walkers gathered, did not open until 2pm.

Police lead the peaceful EDL-organised memorial walk through Hemel Hempstead town centre.

Police lead the peaceful EDL-organised memorial walk through Hemel Hempstead town centre.

Around 50 people took part in the event, which had been advertised through the EDL’s website as well as Twitter and Facebook.

Spokesman for the walk Maximus Ellis said: “We are walking to show our respects to a soldier who was brutally murdered last week. We want to lay a wreath to show a bit of solidarity with the whole country.”

The march was one of almost 50 EDL-organised events taking place throughout the UK today.

It passed through Hemel Hempstead town centre, where a static counter demonstration offering free cakes had also been set up opposing the EDL.

Walkers hold a silence at the Boxmoor war memorial for army drummer Lee Rigby who was killed last week.

Walkers hold a silence at the Boxmoor war memorial for army drummer Lee Rigby who was killed last week.

Leader of the counter demonstration Ed Colenutt said: “A lot of people were worried we were going to be confrontational, so we thought where is the confrontation in handing out cakes? The reason we are here is we do not want the EDL to hijack Lee Rigby’s death. We completely agree with people showing their respects.

“We did everything our end to avoid a violent situation, I am glad that they did as well.”

Police escorted the walkers to the Boxmoor war memorial where a wreath was laid and a silence for Lee Rigby was held.

Gary Sturdy, who brought his two children on the walk, said: “I thought it was right for us to come here to pay our respects.
“I have brought the children along not to be political or make any statement other than the fact that this is a family thing. That is what this country is about.”

> Look out for Natalee Hazelwood’s video report online over the weekend
> Further coverage in this week’s Gazette