LONDON (Jul. 31)
Sir Oswald Mosley, leader of the British Union fascist movement, was injured, and 50 persons were arrested, when a violent riot broke out tonight as Mosley’s forces tried to hold a rally in the East London borough of Hackney, an area with a heavy Jewish population.
The police halted the meeting after six stormy minutes, when fighting broke out between an estimated 1,000 persons, both anti-fascist and pro-Mosleyite.
As soon as Mosley arrived, and the meeting was opened, the crowds of anti-fascist started storming the speakers’ stand. Mounted policemen charged on their horses into the crowd. Anti-Mosleyites tried to smash the fascist banners, while the Mosley hordes tried to protect their group leaders. During the melee, Mosley was knocked down, and his face was bruised. Meanwhile, the police threw a heavy cordon around the fascists to protect them from further injury. Finally, the police ordered the rally halted.
Scotland Yard had taken elaborate precautions against the feared rioting. The anti-riot precautions included the cancellation of leave for hundreds of uniformed policemen who had been ordered to concentrate in the Hackney area. In addition, mounted policemen and personnel from Scotland Yard’s “special branch” had been ordered to the scene from every police station in the entire East End.
Sir Joseph Simpson, the Commissioner of Police, had announced he was ready to stamp out potential trouble before it really got started. However, he rejected a request by Daniel West, a member of the City Council and Mayor of Hackney, to ban the Mosleyite rally. “We have no statutory power under which we can act to ban the mass meeting,” he said.
At Birmingham, today, the Lord Mayor of that city informed Mosley that he cannot have a permit for a rally he planned to hold in October in Birmingham’s Town Hall. The Birmingham city authorities stated they would not risk possible “violent reaction” to a Mosleyite rally in Town Hall which could damage the newly-renovated city building.