'Business as usual' pledge ahead of EDL march in Luton

EDL support at last year's march
Police want to keep Luton open during protests Photo: ITV Anglia

Bedfordshire Police and Luton Borough Council say they are determined to keep Luton town centre open as normal during a demonstration by the English Defence League next month.

The protest on May 5th is expected to be the same size as last year.

St George's Square will be kept free for residents to use and shops are being encouraged to stay open.

Last year's march
Last year's march Credit: ITV Anglia

Bedfordshire Police says the decision to deny both the English Defence League and the opposing protest group, We are Luton, access to St George's Square has been justified following insistent requests from the community that very significant disruption to the normal life of the community should not occur again.

The arrangements so far will allow for the EDL to assemble and march in the Park Street area and for We are Luton to meet in Wardown Park. Details of the exact road closures will be advertised before May 5th.

"There is a legal right to protest and assemble in this country.

"A march or procession can only be banned by the Home Secretary if there is a credible and likely threat of serious public disorder by the group wishing to protest.

"On this occasion, the criteria are simply not met and all partners agree there is no credible case to be made for a ban.

"The restrictions we are imposing are designed to prevent serious disruption to the normal life of the community on a bank holiday weekend."

– Andrew Richer, Assistant Chief Constable of Bedfordshire Police