More strife in Luton; the Times reports:
Nine people were arrested yesterday after trouble flared during a protest march against supposed Muslim extremists.
…Yesterday there were about 500 protesters, some carrying banners with slogans such as “No Sharia Law in the UK” and “Respect our Troops”. Several cars were damaged after a small group split off from the march. An Asian-owned business had its windows smashed.
The Sun adds:
Banner-waving drunks, some disguised under balaclavas, trapped terrified Asian staff inside a restaurant.
While the Daily Mail tells us that:
There were reports of violence, with onlookers claiming that an Asian man was hit across the face with a banner and left with a bloody nose.
Apparently the trouble flaired up when the protestors left the march route. The reports also tell us that March for England (a group which I blogged on here and here) had pulled out from the event, and that United People of Luton was the organiser.
This will of course serve the purposes of hate-mongers on both sides in Luton: namely, the handful of Islamist extremists who protested a military parade in March, and Paul Ray, the local anti-Muslim blogger known as “Lionheart”. Ray, who rants on American Christian radio about “Paki Muslims” and who opines that “you should not judge [the BNP,] who God is doing a work with and through”, makes no distinction between ordinary Muslims and extremists, and he has been quick to capitalise on the Islamist provocation. In a video advertising the 24 May event, Ray warned that (see here, at 3.00):
The rumour is that coach loads of Moslems are travelling down from Bradford to counter this peaceful legal demonstration
We all know what happened in Bradford in 2001
The video was made in the name of “United People of Luton”, but it is unclear what role he plays in the group, if any [UPDATE: His blog now carries details of a speech "that was to be presented by UPL's guest speaker at the end of yesterdays planned protest before it turned into the debacle which it did". This is not published elsewhere, so it must mean that Ray is close to the group's organisers, and is perhaps one of them himself].
There is no evidence that any Muslims came into the area from outside, although one Muslim website tells us that
a few hundred brothers gathered to defend their families,homes and community against these racists and marched together only to be stopped by riot police when they prepared to confront the racist thugs.
The majority of Muslims in Luton have repudiated the extremists who protested the soldiers, and according to one tabloid story the extremists’ ringleader, Sayful Islam, was recently assaulted by Muslims upset over the trouble he’s caused.
A local mosque was firebombed earlier this month; although the police don’t appear to have made much headway, they have said they don’t think far-right extremists were the culprits. Local Christian and Muslim groups have been working together to try to defuse the situation.
I was there yesterday and March for England did not participate in the days event because “this is not what they are about”.
They offered to assit and support, aslong as it was an orderly protest, but as soon as it turned into chaos they walked away.
A report in Luton Today from a couple of days ago added:
And Luton Borough Council, which had initially given permission for the event to go ahead, yesterday said the event did not have an official go-ahead because the original organisers, March for England, had pulled out.
…Mikey Birch, 22, now in charge of the event, said: “We want to warn any right-wing organisations they won’t be welcome at the march. They won’t be allowed to come in with us.
“Anyone wearing bomber jackets or skinheads will be turned away. They’re not part of Luton and we don’t want them to turn up thinking they can take part. If you’re a racist, don’t turn up.
Judging from the footage posted on-line, it seems that, as before, the protestors were mainly drawn from football supporters’ clubs. The videos include scenes of the police being goaded in the most vulgar way; in video 2 at 00.47 one person waves a plank of wood around [UPDATE: Actually, on closer inspection I think it's just the base of a placard] from a safe distance while calling out to the police his opinion that they are “fucking left-wing fucking cunts”.
UPDATE: Paul Ray tells a commentator:
No one thinks that removing the militant wing of Islam from our land is going to be easy, and if the government will not do it then the people will, and they will quite obviously be wearing balaclavas to do that, because the government will come down on them for defending their community.
The people of the British isles cannot win!!!
So decide where you stand and who you stand with.
Bring out the gimps!
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