On Saturday 5 February the English Defence League (EDL), a racist street-gang drawn from football hooligan firms, will hold another “demonstration” in Luton. They are advertising it as “the biggest yet”.
Luton has a special importance for the EDL as it was here in May 2009 when they first appeared, as a bunch of white racists rampaging through the town, attacking Muslim-owned businesses and “Muslim-looking” bystanders.
The riot took place following a provocation staged by the Islamist group Al-Muhajiroun in March 2009, at a parade for soldiers returning from Afghanistan.
The police are making preparations to avoid any clash with anti-fascists on Saturday. They will allow the EDL to parade triumphantly through the streets they terrorised three years ago.
The “official” counter-demonstration by Unite Against Fascism has been moved from its original location in St George’s Square to Park Square, on the other side of the city centre, in order to minimise the possibility of the groups meeting.
However, local youth and the Muslim Defence League, a religiously-defined grouping of young Muslims organised to defend Muslims from EDL attacks, have organised a rally in Westbourne Road to defend local residential streets from attack.
Stop Racism and Fascism Network, a working-class anti-fascist network which Workers’ Liberty and other working-class activists participate in, will seek to ensure that the demonstators are not hopelessly kettled; and that local youth are not left to defend their community alone.