EDL return to Luton as march passes peacefully

Scenes of violence from previous EDL marches in Luton were not repeated on Saturday as the far right group returned to the town.

More than 350 protesters gathered at the Brache, Osborne Road, before marching down to Park Street at 2pm, where speeches were made outside the Mall on Park Square.

A counter demonstration was held on Francis Street to oppose the EDL march, to which around a hundred attended.

During addresses in Park Square mention was made to Olive Tree Primary, an Islamic faith school which was criticised by Ofsted for having books which “promotes stoning”.

A gang attack on a pregnant teen in Rudyard Court, Luton, was also referred to– with a speaker erroneously stating that the child died following the attack.

Tempers flared when a small group of counter protesters appeared outside the Mall, unfurling a banner which read ‘Remember History- Fight Fascism’.

The disturbance was quickly dealt with by police officers and the rest of the demonstration passed peacefully.

Six people were arrested on Inkerman Street during the protest, to prevent an imminent breach of the peace.

The five men and a woman were held in custody at Dunstable Police Station and later released without charge.

However the woman, a 43-year-old from Luton, was cautioned for possessing an offensive weapon.

Chief inspector Greg Horsford, who led the policing operation around the demonstrations, said: “We are pleased that both demonstrations passed without any issues.

“We have worked closely with both groups in the lead-up to today and have ensured that the concerns of the community have been paramount throughout.

“We respect that people have the right to protest peacefully and will continue to help facilitate that right.

“We would like to thank the people of the town for their patience and co-operation in the build up to the events.”

The march was the first EDL demonstration held in Luton since its co-founder and former leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon quit the far right group in October 2013.

Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, was released from prison on November 14 but was not seen at the march.

A statement on his Facebook page read: “We’ve seen rumours circulating on social media sites, so just to set the record straight Tommy Robinson and Kevin Carroll will not be attending the EDL demo in Luton on Saturday.”