As part of their Bank Holiday weekend demonstrations, the right-wing English Defence League (EDL) arranged a meeting in London’s HalfWay to Heaven gay bar. A “lot of lads” were reportedly present.
EDL leader Stephen Lennon has previously said he opposes the building of Mosques “because they preach homophobia and anti-Semitism which we should not tolerate in this country”.
As part of a series of rallies and meetings this weekend, London EDL sympathisers were invited to the HalfWay to Heaven bar near Soho – the website of which advertises itself as a gay bar “orientated towards the 9–5 male worker”.
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The EDL rallies were the latest in a rising tide of anti-Muslim activity sparked by the killing of soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich.
Aside from dropping in to the gay bar, the EDL also found time to have tea at a Mosque in York, after counter-demonstrators in their hundreds descended on the marchers with cups and a sugar bowl.
Other counter-protesters tried to disrupt proceedings by directing EDL members to a rally at E20, the once-fictional postcode used as the location for the soap opera EastEnders.
The weekend was topped off with a sponsored march from Downing Street to Woolwich, where Lee Rigby was killed. The march was intended to raise money for the Help for Heroes charity, but they announced today: “We are a non-political organisation and we do not knowingly accept any money from any organisation that could be considered extreme.”
A Spokesperson for Halfway to Heaven told PinkNews: “We were unaware there was a group representing EDL in the Halfway to Heaven business. No arrangement was made directly with the pub regarding any meeting or gathering. No visual identification of the group was evident and there were no disturbances or issues within the business on the day. No complaints were received and it was a normal, busy, Bank Holiday trading weekend at the pub. As a company support is not given to any political party or group.”