I attended the English Defence League march and demonstration today in Luton (as I also did last year) and posted a number of live tweets from there.
The demo began with the EDL supporters gathering in Park Street. I was stood around fifty feet in front of them with several police lines thankfully in between us. I couldn’t see exactly how far back they went but it seemed that there were around a thousand EDL supporters there. Later on, when they finished marching and were gathered together at the end of Park Street West (see above picture) to listen to their speakers, I was right behind them and got a better look at them and reckoned that they numbered around 500 supporters.
Anyway, to get a feel for who the EDL consist of take a look at this picture. It is of Park Street just a couple of minutes after the EDL moved away from there to begin their march. Note the hundreds of discarded beer bottles (Stella Artois seemed to be their favourite) that these self-proclaimed patriots left littered on the streets.
On the way to their rallying point I saw a number of EDL supporters relieving themselves against the wall of the Victorious Pentecostal Assembly church building. How respectful!
After around half an hour of tweeting from the EDL rally I saw a number of EDL supporters looking into their mobile phones and then look at me and begin whispering to each other. A couple of them walked up to me and took my photo. Yes, these intelligent fellows had twigged that I was tweeting about them from amongst them! A few minutes later, the police blocked off one of the exits so that the EDL could not turn back but could only leave the area via the exit towards Luton train station. A police officer suggested that I move along with the other police officers – which I readily did!
The EDL leader, Stephen Lennon (Tommy Robinson’s real name) then gave his usual rabble rousing speech lashing out at Muslims for a series of alleged misdemeanors including launching a new ‘Discover Islam’ centre in Luton, ‘for raping and pimping’, for ‘terrorizing housing estates’ etc. I met him once during a Radio 4 interview and he seemed to me then and now to be an ambitious little thug on the make.
Another EDL speaker later praised the UK’s freedom and democracy and then – without any sense of irony – criticised the government for allowing Muslims to seek converts to their faith. He then said that the EDL were the defenders of Christianity – just minutes after a number of EDL supporters had been openly pissing on the walls of a church.
It has been said before that the EDL came into existence as a direct result of the antics of the equally repugnant al-Muhajiroun twats who staged an offensive demo against returning UK soldiers in Luton in 2009. Both groups are filled with bigoted individuals. But as long as they don’t actually break the law, it is quite right that in a democracy they be allowed to demonstrate and talk bollocks.