Anti-racists unite to take on EDL threat in Luton

EDL placards Luton February 2011
Placards at EDL demonstration in Luton in February 2011

Anti-fascist activists, Muslim groups, trade unionists and local councillors in Luton are banding together to see off the threat from the racist English Defence League (EDL).

The EDL is threatening to march through Luton town centre on Saturday 5 May. They have targeted the town several times in the past, notably in February last year.

But the groups behind the “We Are Luton” statement have vowed to oppose the EDL and mount a march to St George’s Square. That’s the place where the EDL assembled last time, with police help.

“The EDL is a racist group dedicated to promoting hatred and intolerance in society,” the statement reads. “Islamophobia – bigotry against Muslims – is as unacceptable as any other form of racism.”

Signatories include local MP Kelvin Hopkins, Luton Council of Mosques, several local youth organisations and community projects, Luton TUC and a host of local trade union branches.

Unite Against Fascism (UAF) is backing the anti-EDL protest and calling on its supporters nationally to get down to Luton on 5 May.

Vince Charles is an activist in the Unison trade union and chair of Luton UAF. “People are shocked to see the EDL wants to come back to town,” he told Socialist Worker, in a personal capacity. “The Muslim community in particular has had enough.”

This anger has sparked a “broad-based” alliance against the EDL, he added. “Luton TUC has played a prominent role alongside UAF and Muslim community groups.”

Socialist Worker, 10 April 2012