Luton man in court over EDL protest outside mosque

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A Luton man has been charged with two racially aggravated public order offences following an EDL protest outside a mosque at the weekend.

The 30-year-old is due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court on Monday after he was arrested during a rally in the city by the group on Saturday.

It is alleged that an offensive banner was displayed during the gathering.

West Midlands Police said Thomas Johnstone, of Hitchin Road in Luton, had also been charged with two counts of using threatening behaviour.

He is facing a further count of obstructing a police officer in the lawful execution of their duty.

About 30 people staged a protest in Coventry Road, Sheldon, Birmingham, between 1pm and 2.30pm.

Police said the event “passed off safely and people could go about their business as usual in the area”.

Officers seized a banner during the rally, and said that an 18-year-old arrested on an unrelated matter had been released on police bail pending further inquiries.

Inspector Dave Keen, of the Birmingham East local policing unit, said the force had spent months planning for the rally - but was now investigating whether any further offences had been committed.

He added: “Our negotiations with the organiser were very positive and they stressed their intentions to express their views without resorting to disorder.

“A post investigation is under way to determine if any other offences were committed and action will be taken if any further offences are identified.

“I would urge anyone with photos or information to contact me on 101.”