Murray Wardrop, Telegraph (London), May 25, 2009
Around 500 demonstrators marched through Luton, Beds, on Sunday waving banners bearing slogans such as “No Sharia Law in the UK” and “Respect our Troops”.
The crowd, which had gathered for a peaceful protest against Muslims who denounced troops returning from Iraq in March, was supposed to be escorted by police along a planned route.
But officers ended up fighting running battles with protesters after the some of mob bolted and began attacking Asian residents.
Police drafted in cavalry, dog handlers and riot officers at 5pm in an attempt to control the crowd, some of whom wore balaclavas and shirts bearing St George’s Cross.
At one point the mob appeared to be charging in the direction of Bury Park, an area of Luton where many of the town’s Asian population live.
The crowd convened on the steps of Luton’s town hall, where many began chanting “terrorists out” before dispersing.
The march was organised by a group called United People of Luton (UPL), in protest against Muslim preachers who marred the homecoming parade of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.
On March 10 extremists, including the activist Sayful Islam, jeered 200 soldiers and waved placards calling them “Butchers of Basra”, “murderers” and “baby-killers”.
It led to fury from families of soldiers and was condemned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Britain’s former most senior Muslim police officer, Tarique Ghaffur.
UPL spokesman Wayne King, 24, who helped organise Sunday’s march, said: “We want laws brought in to stop these preachers of hate operating here in Luton.
“We decided enough was enough after the soldiers got heckled as they marched through the town centre by the Muslim extremists.”
A spokeswoman for Bedfordshire Police said: “Nine people are in custody for a range of offences including criminal damage and assault.”
Several cars were damaged in the riot and an Asian-owned business had its windows smashed.
A group called March for England had applied to Luton Borough Council for permission to march through the town centre but their request was turned down.
The council said it had become aware that a small group of people planned to go ahead with the march anyway.
[Editor’s Note: A video of the Luton anti-Muslim demonstrations can be viewed at YouTube here. Just a
few minutes of the 10-minute clip will give you a flavor of the protest.]