Fears of further violence prompt march ban

'We had no alternative' say police and council

The Home Office has issued a ban on any unofficial marches taking place in Luton for the next three months.

The ban was granted to Beds Police and Luton Borough Council, who feared a planned 'anti-extremism' march on September 19 would mean a repeat of violent scenes from earlier in the year.

Several 'marches' have taken place in Luton in response to disruption caused by Islamic extremists at the homecoming parade for the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment, nicknamed the Poachers, on March 10.

The most recent, in May, saw protestors clash with police and cause damage to cars and a takeaway shop. A man was also assaulted.

The ban, granted under the Public Order Act, prohibits "any procession or march involving members or supporters of, but not limited to, the English Defence League, UK Casuals United, March For England and United People of Luton" from marching in the town without having made a formal application to Luton Borough Council.

The English Defence League is behind the September 19 event, postponed from the August Bank Holiday weekend, but they have not applied for permission to hold the event.

The league's members want to march in protest at the fact that Luton was not included in the battalion's 'All the 4s' 10-day charity march through several towns and cities, which ends in Hertford on Sunday.

Chief Superintendent Andy Frost, Divisional Commander for Luton, said a significant police presence would be in place to uphold the ban, adding: "The risk the proposed marches pose to public safety has left us with no alternative but to apply for a banning order."

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