Exclusive: Britain First planning return to Luton after controversial ‘Christian patrol’

Britain First leader Paul Golding (centre) and other members in Bury Park
Britain First leader Paul Golding (centre) and other members in Bury Park

Britain First has said that there is “absolutely no doubt” they will return to Luton throughout the year.

Members of the far-right group sparked controversy as they held up crosses and handed out literature in Bury Park on Saturday, during what they called a ‘Christian patrol’.

Footage of the unannounced march, which has now been viewed millions of times online, shows heated arguments breaking out between the demonstrators and locals.

The ‘patrol’ has been condemned by members of both the Christian and Muslim communities, but Britain First has asserted that it will revisit the town in the coming months.

Speaking to the Luton News, the group’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen said: “We will be back, I have absolutely no doubt we will be back on the streets of Luton fairly soon.

“It is quite evident from the video that we went to a British town to conduct a Christian patrol very peacefully and silently by distributing leaflets and holding crosses.

“Without making contact we were told we were not welcome and threatened.

“On two occasions our activists were physically assaulted.”

Britain First say they decided to stage Saturday’s demonstration to highlight the convictions of Lutonians Ibrahim Anderson and Shah Jahan Khan, who on Friday were found guilty of promoting ISIS.

Beds Police has launched an investigation into the march, during which no arrests were made.

The force has said that police patrols have been conducted in the area for “community reassurance”.

Britain First plans to visit Luton Police Station to report allegations that its members were pelted with eggs and targeted with abuse during the demonstration.

Ms Fransen added: “You can see from part of the video that the police were telling us to leave, while we were being abused by the community.

“I have no doubt that if the Christian community had done that during a peaceful Muslim march you would have seen multiple arrests.”

Members of the Christian community have distanced themselves from Britain First’s rhetoric and in a show of unity on Sunday they handed out flowers and messages of peace in Bury Park.

Interfaith worker Peter Adams, from St Mary’s Church, said: “By their actions, Britain First has corrupted the message of the cross, which for us is a symbol of reconciliation, forgiveness and selfless love.

“We regret that they were able to come and reject their actions.

“In Luton, we will stay at peace.”

Mohammad Walayat, of Luton Central Mosque, added: “This was a lovely gesture from our Christian friends, and as always we are proud to stand beside them.

“We know through our strong working relationships and friendships that Britain First does not represent the Christian faith or values.

“Loving our neighbour and living peacefully alongside them is at the core of both Islam and Christianity”.

Luton Borough Council leader Hazel Simmons praised the ‘heartwarming’ pictures of Christians and Muslims coming together, adding that Britain First’s video of its demonstration “had clearly been edited to show a very biased set of events”.

Responding to the show of defiance on Sunday, the far-right group branded the Christians who handed out flowers “gormless, trendy, politically correct, tree hugging sandle wearing hippies who only care about multiculturalism.”

Ms Fransen added: “Those so called Christians are absolute traitors.

“They will be judged for appeasing minorities and putting them before their own people.”

Saturday’s event was not the first time the far-right group has targeted Bury Park– in June 2014 Britain First leader Paul Golding and other members were filmed storming into Luton Central Mosque and Bury Park Mosque to hand out leaflets and bibles.

Last year they announced plans to stage a highly divisive demonstration through Luton town centre, which was almost scuppered after Beds Police applied for an injunction to ban the group’s leaders from the town.

The High Court rejected the bid to prevent Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen from entering Luton, but an interim injunction against the pair was handed down,

This banned Mr Golding and Ms Fransen from publishing or distributing material which is “likely to stir up religious and/or racial hatred” and from behaving in a way that would cause “harassment, alarm or distress” for a period of 12 months.

Around 200 Britain First supporters attended the demonstration on June 27.

During the rally Ms Fransen branded Christian leaders at St Mary’s Church ‘hypocrites’ and ‘traitors’ for attempting to get Britain First to call off its protest.