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The English Defence League demonstration in Luton today (5 February) was much smaller than predicted and easily outnumbered by anti-fascist protestors.

By JournalistSinan: Muslims and locals standing firm on streets to defend their community.

The English Defence League demonstration in Luton today (5 February) was much smaller than predicted and easily outnumbered by anti-fascist protestors.

Around 1,500 EDL racists entered the town and were corralled by police in front of the town hall behind metal fences. Having attracted excessive media coverage, they had hoped for 5,000 and a chance to rampage across the town attacking local Muslims.

The official Unite Against Fascism demonstration, about 1,000 strong, was blocked off by the police at the opposite end of the main shopping street.

Earlier on, some UAF demonstrators had managed to prevent EDL members getting out of the railway station. Later, a contingent also broke away and attempted to march to Bury Park, the suburb which is the main centre for Luton’s Muslim community, but it was kettled by the police and eventually moved away to join the main UAF demonstration.

At Bury Park itself, large numbers were on the streets from midday onwards, with perhaps 2,000 or more at peak, mainly local Muslims.

Counterfire members and other socialist activists joined the Bury Park demonstration. The mood was excellent. The numbers on the streets gave people confidence, and there was a mix of determination, solidarity, and often vigorous political debate.

The EDL will continue to organise. Anti-racists must seek to make a reality of black and white unity, mobilising large numbers so we can reclaim the streets from the racists.

By JournalistSinan: Some UAF supporters managed to get to Bury Park and marched down main road with locals

Images by Anita de Klerk

Neil Faulkner

Neil Faulkner

Neil Faulkner is a freelance archaeologist and historian. He works as a writer, lecturer, excavator, and occasional broadcaster. His books include ‘A Visitor’s Guide to the Ancient Olympics‘ and ‘A Marxist History of the World: from Neanderthals to Neoliberals‘.

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