Balloons and cake are part of peaceful plans to counter the EDL-organised march in memory of murdered soldier Lee Rigby on Saturday.
A Facebook page for the counter-event was set up by Ed Colenutt, who hopes to create a positive, carnival atmosphere in Hemel Hempstead town centre with a static demonstration. This will coincide with the planned walk from Midland Road to the Boxmoor war memorial, organised by the EDL but open to anyone.
The 30-year-old from Woodhall Farm said: “The EDL are jumping on this bandwagon of the horrific and brutal murder of a soldier and are using people’s grief and outrage to turn them to hate the whole of Islam.
“As someone who stands against racism, fascism and Islamophobia, I can’t stand by while they try and bring a recruiting drive to the town. Even if they are saying it is peaceful and non-political, they have politicised it by attaching the EDL name to it.
“I just put the word out on Facebook that people need to stand against this and people have responded.”
Yesterday, hemeltoday.co.uk reported that EDL leader Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Lennon, had publicised the march as part of a wider series of events planned by the EDL across the country, to show respect for the army drummer who was killed in Woolwich, London, last week.
Both Mr Robinson and Mr Colenutt have expressed wishes for the separate demonstrations to be silent and peaceful.
Mr Colenutt, who says he is not acting in the name of Unite Against Fascism despite having the logo on the Facebook page, said: “There are people in Hemel Hempstead that want to stand against racism. That does not mean we are not shocked and disgusted by what happened to Lee Rigby, but we are capable of separating the acts of two individuals from the whole of the Muslim faith.
“There is always a danger of conflict, you can’t put anything past the EDL, but from where we sit it will be completely and utterly peaceful. We will have cake and balloons. It is a completely unaffiliated demonstration of unity against racism and fascism, we are not there to get in their faces at all.”
Mr Colenutt has asked anyone interested in joining the counter-demonstration to visit the Facebook page ‘EDL Counter-Demo - Hemel Hempstead’.
UPDATE: Ed Colenutt has asked anyone wishing to show their respects for Lee Rigby, but does not want to support the EDL, to join his static counter demo on Saturday instead. He said: “We appreciate that people want to mark his death, but we don’t appreciate the EDL hijacking it. We are asking people to define themselves and support Lee, but I am sure there are people going down there who don’t want anything to do with the EDL, but they will be part of their numbers. “We want there to be a clear distinction between who is there for Lee, and who is there as part of the EDL.”