Despite many misgivings, on October 4 1936 the authorities allowed Oswald Mosley and his band of fascist ‘Blackshirts’ to march through the East End of London. They found their way blocked by about 100,000 anti-fascist protesters.
The police attempted to clear the way but were attacked by crowds armed with rocks, sticks and chair legs, while women along the route pelted the fascists with rotten vegetables, rubbish and the contents of their chamber pots. In the end, those chanting ‘they shall not pass’ won out, as Mosley abandoned the march and his band scattered. Many protesters were arrested and fined, but their actions helped to bring about the demise of the British Union of Fascists.