A MARCH by the far-right English Defence League (EDL) escalated into violence today after thousands of anti-fascists turned out to stage their own counter-demonstration.

EDL supporters had planned to set off from Blackhorse Road station in Waltham Forest at 1.30pm, before heading to Forest Road and staging a rally in front of the magistrates’ court.

But a crowd of anti-fascist protestors staged their own march, leaving Walthamstow Town Square flanked by police at 1pm, waving banners, and chanting ‘they shall not pass’.

The crowd was directed from Hoe Street to Bell Corner, where a dozen police vans were used to pen them in.

The delayed EDL march, which numbered only around 300, and was escorted in by almost as many police officers, left Blackhorse Road at 2pm and was diverted down Bromley Road.

Shopkeepers along Hoe Street and Forest Road lowered their metal shutters and locked their premises as the EDL group approached.

Despite police efforts to prevent the two factions meeting, a group of anti-fascists broke away and made it to the Bromley Road turning where fighting started with bottles, flower pots and firecrackers being thrown.

Police have yet to confirm how many arrests have been made.

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