A Legend is Born on Cable Street

Sunday 4th October 1936

Violence provoked by British Union of Fascist demonstrations had been growing for some time and reached a climax triggered by a march through eastern London, later celebrated as the “Battle of Cable Street”. The Fascist had intended to march through largely Jewish areas in uniform. Despite the provocative intent of the march and the risk of violence, the authorities did not ban it outright.

A large escort of 6,000 police was provided to protect the Fascists from an estimated 20,000 counter demonstrators, principally local Jews and Communists. The bulk of the violence was between police and counter-demonstrators. There were few casualties among the Fascists. Most of the 60 people arrested were counter-demonstrators. The legend that the Fascists were defeated is quite false, but the violence was a major motive for the passage of the Public Order Act, forbidding uniformed protests and requiring police permission for demonstrations, which is regarded as a major factor in the decline of Fascist activism in Britain.