Appeal for calm as EDL march looms

The EDL march from Midland Road to St Georges Square in February 2011
The EDL march from Midland Road to St Georges Square in February 2011

Young people in Luton are being advised to keep their emotions in check on Saturday as the English Defence League stage a march in the town.

More than 300 EDL supporters are expected to take part in the demonstration, which will see the far right group march from The Brache, Osborne Road, to Park Street at 2pm.

A static counter protest, organised by We are Luton, the Muslim Defence League and Unite Against Fascism, will take place on Francis Street from noon.

As such Osborne Road, Park Street and Church Street will be closed to traffic from 12.30pm-4pm, while part of Francis Street (between the entrance for Lidl and the junction with Crawley Road) will be shut from around 10am to 4pm.

Access to Lidl and Sainsbury’s supermarkets will be maintained at all times.

Last week organisers of the counter march told the Herald & Post that they have mobilised to prevent EDL members from “rampaging” through Bury Park.

Council leader Hazel Simmons has appealed for calm.

She said: “We have been working hard to support young people in particular to understand and think carefully about their actions before deciding to join any demonstration and make sure they do not unwittingly get drawn into activity that could impact on their future prospects.

“I am extremely proud of the way our communities united to respond to previous protests by the EDL.

“Through their dignified actions, our communities showed the strength and cohesion of spirit that exists in Luton, and I am sure we will all respond in the same manner this time.”