A far-right group which provoked anger after ‘invading’ two Bury Park mosques has announced a large scale demonstration through Luton, we can reveal.
Britain First, formed four years ago by ex-BNP members, will stage a protest through the town on June 27 to “demonstrate that Luton is an English town not a mini caliphate”.
Last June group leader Paul Golding and other members were filmed storming into Luton Central Mosque and Bury Park Mosque to hand out leaflets and bibles.
The group, which called the visit an ‘invasion’, were seen doorstepping a number of other mosques across the country in similar videos.
Next month’s protest, which has been been denounced by a number of community leaders, is expected to bring between 500-1000 protestors into the town.
Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen told the Luton News: “At the moment the plans that have been made are for a march through the town, then speeches will be given.
“This is the first one that we have held one in Luton so we are expecting a good turnout.
“We had around 500 turn up to one in Dudley the other week and we are aiming to get far more than that on the streets.”
On why the demonstration has been organised, Miss Fransen said: “Luton is a hotbed for Islamic extremism and locals have appealed for us to go there.
“We are against Islamic extremism but do not oppose people because of race.
“We expect to have a lot of opposition there on the day but it is not something that will put us off.”
Dawood Masood, founder and CEO of Quba Trust, criticised the plans.
He told the Luton News: “As a proud young Lutonian it does worry me that an organisation that has previously been known to dirupt and barge in to local faith institutions is intending to come and cause more anxiety into our town.
“Marching into a town centre and shouting is not really going to achieve anything.
“They are not putting “Britain” First but themselves and their own political agenda.”
He added: “I believe that groups like Britain First have a misconstructed understanding of Islam.
“I believe the hatred Britain First have for the Muslims and Islam is born out of ignorance and lack of interaction with real, decent, normal Muslims. “As a Muslim i believe, our Prophet, is a prophet of mercy, he taught us, the only way to overcome anger and hatred is through dialogue and discussion.”
Concerns have also been raised that the demonstration will be a drain on police resources.
Last November a 400 strong group of English Defence League protesters marched from the Brache to Park Square, an event which ended with six arrests.
Beds Police fielded 300 officers, ten horses and a dozen dogs to manage the demonstration, though the whole operation required the input of around 700 staff.
A subsequent EDL protest on New Year’s Eve attracted just 12 protestors, but cost the force £23,111 due to contingency plans that were put in place.
Luton South MP Gavin Shuker slammed the plans for a Britain First demonstration.
He told the Luton News: “Once again Luton is being targeted by a far right march, the difference between now and 2010 is that now we have fewer officers and a bigger hole in the police budget.
“There is a place for free speech and the police can only ban a march if it is demonstrated that they will not be able to control it.
“These extremists will come and have a few beers and a lovely time spreading their message of hate but once again we will pick up the tab.
“Luton taxpayers will be stuck with the bill for people coming in from outside of Luton.”