The English Defence League are set to demonstrate once again in their home town of Luton, thirty miles north of London, on Saturday 5 May. Despite EDL requests to police to keep numbers low Bedfordshire police has promised a large number of officers including other forces, along with police horses and dogs. As with previous EDL demonstrations in Luton and across the country, ahead of the Bank Holiday weekend residents and business owners are concerned about the disruption to the town, and potential damage to property if clashes erupt. The far-right group have said that the demonstration is intended "to celebrate three years of campaigning against Islamic extremism." It has been suggested on the EDL Facebook page that the upcoming event in Luton will be "the biggest demo to date". Despite their claims that they are a non-racist organisation, last week several members of the EDL, and splinter group the North West Infidels have been arrested under suspicion of incitement of racial hatred using the internet. Over the weekend another prominent member of the EDL was arrested for threats made on Facebook, including the words “GIVE ME A GUN AND AL DO U ALL OSLO STYLE”. Unite Against Fascism have planned a counter demo at the same time in Luton, the likes of which in the past have resulted in altercations between the two groups. Although police are insuring that there will be minimum disruption on the day, their admission that they expect the police operation to cost in excess of £1million suggests otherwise.
Luton on high alert as EDL and UAF set for protests over Bank Holiday