The Independent

Tommy Robinson attends rights lecture at LSE

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson is at the centre of a new row between the London School of Economics and the BBC after turning up unannounced with a cameraman who claimed to be making a documentary for the broadcaster at a lecture on human rights in the Muslim world.


Robinson’s presence at last Wednesday’s talk by Karima Bennoune, an Algerian-American professor in international law, was criticised by the head of the LSE’s human rights centre, who said the incident had “risked causing public disruption around a highly controversial figure at an event aimed at opposing violence and extremism”.

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Close encounters with the English Defence League

An ageing, red-faced skinhead teases apart his open-necked checked shirt to reveal an image of a crusader’s shield and the words “No Surrender” on his chest. Inadvertently, he also exposes a fleshy triangle of beer belly as he clutches a can of lager in his other hand.

Ed Thompson’s photos capture the spirit of a movement which wears its allegiances on its skin. [Courtesy Edward Thompson]

It is an image, at once intimate, ridiculous and menacing, that captures recurring themes in Ed Thompson’s photo essay documenting the emergence of the English Defence League: bare skin, tattoos and identity and ideology inked onto knuckles, forearms, ankles and shaven heads.

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