On Saturday, 9 June 2012, the EDL held a protest in Rochdale, where nine Muslim men had recently been found guilty of involvement in a child grooming gang.
According to the BBC about 400 people attended the protest and 11 arrests were made, which Greater Manchester Police Ch Supt John O’Hare said was “not uncommon for an event of that size”. He added: “I do think it is testament to the organisers themselves who worked with us to ensure the event passed off as peacefully as possible.”
Standing in front of a St George’s Cross flag with the message “It’s time our government grew a pair and stopped the two-tier system” in the bottom left corner and “No to Sharia law, No to halal foods, No to more mosques” in the bottom right corner, various speakers addressed the protesters.
As reported by Digital Journal, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) had gone to the unusual step of issuing an ‘urgent notice’ to its members after Casuals United (a group affiliated with the EDL) had issued what it called a ‘fatwa’, due to alleged incidents involving “left-wing journalists” and online harassment, etc.
Tony Curtis speech
Tony Curtis believed that the Muslim grooming gang arrests made recently had something to do with the EDL. They had said, “If that’s happening in your town or city, we are coming there! We are coming there and your Chief Constable is going to have to explain why it is costing him a million pounds to stage this, when all he has to do is make a few arrests.”
Tommy Robinson speechPolice hands were “tied by political correctness”
Tommy began by saying, "I sense a lot of anger, a lot of frustration. Justified anger, justified frustration. We are a community that has been let down by our politicians; let down by the leaders of our police forces. There has been a conspiracy of silence by police leaders, Islamic leaders and politicians to facilitate the orchestrated rape for twenty to thirty years of members of our community.”
Speaking about the inaction of police officers he went on to say, “Their hands were tied. They were tied by political correctness.”
Tommy Robinson then goes into some detail as to what he perceives to be a possible link between the Quran and the behaviour of those involved in grooming gangs up and down the country.
Muslim Council of BritainOn 8 May 2012 the Muslim Council of Britain issued a statement condemning the Rochdale abusers, which said there was “’No place’ for sexual abuse in our faith or culture”.
An opposing Rochdale Unity Rally had been organised by Unite Against Fascism (UAF). Despite the usual clichés of ‘racist’ and ‘fascist’ directed at the EDL, they expressed valid concerns that an entire community should not be demonised and punished.
In a statement UAF said, “Sexual exploitation is an appalling crime, but is not linked to ethnicity or religion.”
However, this is inconsistent with evidence reported by a Dispatches documentary, which showed a clear pattern of offences, committed by Pakistani Muslim men.
Other EDL demonstrations in 2012 have included:
On 5 May 2012 the EDL celebrated three years with a rally in Luton, the birthplace of the EDL to highlight “massive ongoing problems within Luton town as far as Islamic extremism goes and Luton Borough Council’s inability and ineffectiveness to deal with these.”
On 25 February 2012 the EDL protested in Hyde, Greater Manchester to demonstrate against the gang attack on seventeen-year-old Daniel Stringer-Prince.
On 6 February 2012 the EDL held a demonstration outside Liverpool Crown Court to protest against Muslim paedophile grooming gangs.
On 4 February 2012 the EDL marched in Leicester to highlight the Rhea Page case.