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250,000 Halt Blackshirts’ Parade in London’s East End

Shouting, “They shall not pass:” an unruly crowd of an estimated 250,000 persons today blocked the route of march of 5,000 Fascist Blackshirts into London’s East End and forced the Police Commissioner to prohibit the parade at the last moment.

Many persons were injured and 53 arrested as members of the crowd frequently broke from the control of the 3,000 police and attacked the Fascist marchers. Three Blackshirts were beaten before the police could rescue them. Other injuries occurred when police charged on anti-Fascists attempting to block the parade.

(The Havas News Agency said nine bystanders, including three women, an old man and a 14-year-old boy were injured seriously enough to require hospital treatment, and many other spectators were trampled under foot and bruised. One group of young anti-Fascists overturned a truck in the middle of Cable Street in an attempt to blockade the road. About ten men were arrested at this point, Havas said.)

Several clashes with police occurred near the Royal Mint, where the members of Sir Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists assembled to begin their parade into London’s Jewish quarter. Near Aldgate, the entrance to Whitechapel, the police were almost overpowered by the surging mob on several occasions.

Fifteen minutes after the parade was supposed to start from the mint, Sir Philip Game, the Police Commissioner, notified Mosley that the march had been banned. The Fascists thereupon cancelled meetings at Victoria Park and other places, and marched westward, away from the hostile crowd, to disband at Charing Cross.

HOME OFFICE REFUSED TO BAN MARCH

Groups broke away from the crowd and followed the Fascists, who continued to march in formation. Minor clashes occurred at Trafalgar Square and on the Strand between small groups of Blackshirts and anti-Fascists.

After the refusal of the Home Office yesterday, despite protests from Jewish and anti-Fascist groups, to prohibit the demonstration, the Communists, Independent Laborites and Jewish Peoples’ Party last night and this morning feverishly canvassed the entire district, exhorting residents to turn out in protest.

As a result, hours before the march was supposed to begin, threatening crowds jammed the line of march, necessitating the strongest concentration of police in years to control them. Police had mobile equipment and firemen appeared on the scene with hoses to keep the mob in check. Hundreds of detectives had been assigned to mingle with the crowds to prevent outbreaks of violence.

Merchants in Whitechapel, the Jewish quarter of the East End, had boarded up their shops in anticipation of disorders.

Mosley’s schedule called for a “march past of troops” in the East End, after which the Blackshirts were to divide into four columns and march to Shoreditch, Limehouse, Bow and Bethnal Green for separate night meetings.

A petition bearing 100,000 signatures asking prohibition of the demonstration was presented to the Home Office last Friday by a delegation from the Jewish peoples’ Council, headed by James H. Hall, Laborite M.P.

Barnet Janner, former M.P. from Whitechapel, yesterday asked the Home Office authorities to reroute the parade if it could not be banned.

Mayors of London boroughs had asked a ban on the demonstration on the ground that it would lead to disorders. Fears of violence rose when Communists and Independent Laborites called mass meetings in the East End to begin a half hour before the scheduled Blackshirt parade.

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