Muslim leaders and politicians in London's East End have said they are "fed up" but "united" as they led a protest to counter a controversial march by the far-right English Defence League (EDL) being held on their doorstep.
Thousands of people including supporters of Unite Against Fascism gathered at the Altab Ali Park in Aldgate East, east London. They had walked past the closed roads and heavy uniformed police security lining the streets a stone's throw away from the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre.
The park is in the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, home to one of Britain's largest Muslim populations.
Messages in the mosque relayed after prayers said the numbers of Muslims at the park "were in small numbers" as many people had decided not come out. It assured them that it was a safe and peaceful rally watched by a large number of police and that they would be welcome to show that "we can not live with hatred".
At the same time the EDL, which had wanted to demonstrate in the heart of Tower Hamlets, began a restricted march under close watch by the police.
The EDL lost a High Court battle over where its supporters were allowed to demonstrate. The Metropolitan Police had allowed it to protest but with strict conditions that meant any march would be held at the outskirts of the borough and close to Tower Bridge.
Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman and John Biggs, a local Labour London Assembly member, were among the campaigners who listened to speeches at the Altab Ali park which is named after an Asian garment worker who was killed in a race attack in May 1978.
Mr Rahman admitted that he was "very fed up " with having to deal with these demonstrations saying: "We just want to get on with our normal lives."
He said: "We are celebrating peace and tranquility. We are not espousing violence. The people who want to talk about violence and inflict violence and hate on others can just go back to their nests and their holes. We are a united community and we are a diverse community. Young people are not coming out today because they are frightened."
Scotland Yard said two arrests were made as the march got under way, one for possession of a pointed blade and another for possession of a firework.