EDL are on the march

L12-570    5/5/12'EDL protest'wk 19 SAS JX
L12-570 5/5/12'EDL protest'wk 19 SAS JX

A march led by the English Defence League in memory of murdered soldier Lee Rigby will pass through Hemel Hempstead on Saturday.

Demonstrators will meet at 11.30am on Midland Road and the walk, which will go through the town centre and on to the Boxmoor war memorial, starts at 1pm.

It is already thought to have 100 participants.

Leader of the EDL Tommy Robinson, who lives in Luton, said the march is part of a nationwide initiative to show respect for the army drummer who was hacked to death in Woolwich, London, last week.

He said: “The image in my mind, and in a lot of people’s minds at the moment, is of that horrible scumbag with a machete. I can see him, and I want to pump out a new image of people bowing their heads in respect, with flowers, across the country. We will fire it out everywhere so that is all people see.”

Mr Robinson, who spoke at a rally against the killing in London at the weekend, said the march through the town will be “peaceful” and open to anyone to join. He added: “The surge in support for the EDL since Lee Rigby’s death will make the government change things. Through his death and the fury left by it they will have to stamp down on Islamic extremism. But this walk has got nothing to do with Islam and nothing to do with protesting. This is just to show that his death was a line in the sand and it can’t continue.”

Hemel Hempstead MP Mike Penning has condemned the march, saying: “I would encourage people to have absolutely nothing to do with the EDL. They are an abhorrent organisation that feeds on people’s fears.

“It won’t be peaceful, nothing to do with this organisation is peaceful – we saw that on the evening of the murder. I don’t think the EDL are representative of my community.”

Herts Police says the force is monitoring the situation and considering its operational response.