POLICE have announced new restrictions which in effect ban the far-right English Defence League (EDL) from holding even a static protest in Walthamstow this weekend.

The government confirmed yesterday that all marches would be banned in Waltham Forest for the next 30 days, but the EDL vowed to hold a static demonstration on Saturday (October 27) instead.

The Home Office said yesterday that static protests could not be banned, but the Met says it has now imposed protest "conditions" under the Public Order Act, which mean the EDL can only legally demonstrate in London outside the Houses of Parliament between 1pm and 2pm tomorrow.

But the group, which claims to be a "movement" opposed to Islamic extremism but which critics say is racist, has said it will return to the borough when the march ban expires.

In a statement, the EDL said: "We have informed the Met Police that once the 30 day ban has ceased then the EDL will be applying again to march in Walthamstow and will keep on applying until we are allowed to march the route that we have chosen."

The group also advised its members to stay away from Walthamstow this weekend.

However Scotland Yard said other groups would still legally be allowed to hold static protests in Walthamstow, including anti-EDL campaigners from organisations such as We Are Waltham Forest (WAWF) and Unite Against Fascism (UAF).

Council leader Cllr Chris Robbins, borough commander Mark Collins and the borough's MPs, Stella Creasy, John Cryer and Iain Duncan Smith, have all urged residents not to attend counter-protests.

The government's decision to ban all marches comes after a joint campaign by Waltham Forest Council and the Guardian, which was supported by a petition signed by over 5,000 people.

A Met spokesman said: "The decision to apply for the section 14 [of the Public Order Act] conditions was made as we had reasons to believe that it could result in serious disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community could be caused by the presence of a demonstration in this area."

Chief Superintendent Peter Terry added: "We have made this decision based on specific intelligence and information, and our message is clear, we do not want people coming into the areas to attend these events."

The ban also applies to Tower Hamlets, Newham and Islington.

A previous march by the EDL in Walthamstow last month ended in chaotic scenes when around 3,000 counter-protesters blocked it. There were 20 arrests and missiles thrown by both sides.

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