Published on Thursday, 03 May 2012 18:26 Written by Sonia Gable
This is a call for all antifascists to come to Luton on Saturday 5 May to tell the supporters of the racist English Defence League that they are not wanted here (or anywhere else). The EDL are returning to Luton intending to celebrate the third anniversary of the formation of their Islamophobic organisation.
The EDL has recently struggled to get out the numbers that it once did but the emotional significance of Luton, especially following EDL leader Tommy Robinson’s appearance on the Channel 4 documentary Proud and Prejudiced in February, may change that. An EDL Facebook page claims that the event, which the EDL has hypocritically titled “Love Luton – love the English Defence League”, will be “the biggest demo to date”.
Antifascists are determined not to let the EDL have the run of the streets to promote their hatred and intolerance. A coalition of community groups and trade unionists in Luton is organising a ‘We are Luton’ protest march and multicultural celebration to oppose the EDL racists and fascists.
Antifascist marchers will assemble at 11am, Wardown Park, New Bedford Road, Luton LU3 1LP. They will march at noon from the museum entrance to the park, along New Bedford Road before turning left into Dunstable Road, then onto Liverpool Road, Collingdon Street and back up to Wardown Park via New Bedford Road.
A statement by the protesters, which include several youth organisations, trade union branches and regional organisations, Luton and Beds Green Party, Luton Council of Mosques and Kelvin Hopkins MP, says, “The EDL aims to create divisions in society by using diversity as a cause for hatred rather than celebration. There is no place for the EDL in Luton’s multiracial, multicultural and multi-faith community.” Unite Against Fascism is also mobilising for the protest.
Although shops in the town centre have been encouraged to open as usual and The Mall Luton will be open for trade, many roads around the town centre will be closed, which may affect your route to Wardown park.
EDL supporters will march at 12.45pm setting off from Park Viaduct, up Park Street before turning left into Cumberland Street, right into Park Street West and onto the roundabout junction of Park Street and Church Street.
Although the far-right March for England, which overlaps with the EDL, was routed by antifascists in Brighton on 22 April, the EDL remains sufficiently confident to attack left-wing activists physically, including putting two people in hospital after attacking an SWP stall in Lewisham, southeast London. The attackers were reportedly looking for “revenge” for Brighton and a photographer had been assaulted earlier.
The ‘We are Luton’ march organisers and the EDL have signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” with the police outlining when and where the protests will take place and what should be expected of them. However some militant antifascists are calling for action to stop the EDL from marching or at least disrupt their plans as in Brighton. Workers Liberty has suggested using “creative tactics – including blockading roads – to prevent fascist mobilisation” rather than “pitched street fights”.