By Viv Smith
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Gearing up to stop the racist EDL in Luton

This article is over 13 years, 4 months old
The racist English Defence League (EDL) plans to return to Luton, where it was formed in 2009, on Saturday 5 February. Anti‑fascists will resist it.
Issue 2234

The racist English Defence League (EDL) plans to return to Luton, where it was formed in 2009, on Saturday 5 February. Anti‑fascists will resist it.

The first EDL publicity for the protest was simple—a film of a mosque in eastern Europe being burnt to the ground followed by the date of the protest. 

Martin Smith, Unite Against Fascism (UAF) national officer, described what EDL supporters want to achieve:

“They want a pogrom in Luton. They have informed their divisions not to assemble in any one place so that they can run amok in the town, converging on Bury Park—a predominantly Muslim area.

“UAF is calling a national protest in Luton in solidarity with the Muslim community.”

UAF and Love Music Hate Racism activists across the Three Counties area are working tirelessly to build the counter protest. Thousands of leaflets have been distributed.

“We had a fantastic response in Bury Park last week,” Jon Berry, UAF regional organiser, told Socialist Worker. “Local people know that the EDL is coming and are ready.

“We were invited in to shops and given tea by local cafe owners who said they want to come to our next UAF organising meeting.

“People will gather in Bury Park on the day to defend their houses and places of worship, and to hold their own march.”

Three Counties UAF has released a statement condemning the EDL and calling for support for the counter-protest.


“Every trade union branch or trades council approached has enthusiastically agreed to support the protest,” Dave Barnes, trade union coordinator for Three Counties UAF, told Socialist Worker.

More than ten union branches and trades councils have signed the statement.

This backing needs to be turned into thousands of people joining the protest.

Many are also angry at the council and police response to the EDL.

“The police have allocated the EDL a pub in the heart of a local estate, and we believe they are planning to march,” Steve Coghlan, a UAF activist in Luton told Socialist Worker.

“The police are pandering to the EDL.”

 The council has planned an event—Luton in Harmony—the week before the EDL protest.Steve said, “That would give the EDL free run of the town on 5 February.

“We won’t allow that to happen. We will be in George Square holding a rally. We will be in Bury Park standing shoulder to shoulder with Luton’s Muslim community.”

Every anti-fascist who can should join the UAF protest.

UAF is organising coaches from across Britain. Transport leaves London from York Way, next to Kings Cross station, at 11am. Tickets £6.50. Go to or phone 020 7801 2782

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