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6 May 2012, 09:13
Police say their operation to control a march by the English Defence League in Luton was a success.
Around 3,000 people from the EDL came to Luton on Saturday 5 May 2012, to mark the third anniversary of the organisation being set up in the town.
The anti-EDL group 'We Are Luton' responded to the demonstration with a march of around 1000 people.
Officers from twenty other police forces were called in to help Bedfordshire Police.
There was some minor disorder. A handful of smoke flares were set off and bottles were thrown towards police officers.
Two people were arrested for minor public order offences- one was an EDL supporter and the other from the ‘We are Luton’ group.
Heart asked Chief Superintendent Mike Colbourne if such a huge police operation had been a waste of time and money.
He said: "The difficulty that was have got is that we clearly want to make sure we've got enough police officers to be able to respond if there are contingencies and problems that occur. We did need that number of officers to be able to safely move and marshal the protestors."
Luton Borough Council had been worried shoppers would be put off coming into the town yesterday. Last year the high street lost hundreds of thousands of pound during the EDL demo.
The town was quiet than usual but leader of the council, Hazel Simmons says it was better than last year:
"It probably is down than what their normal Saturday takings are but its much better than it being closed so I'm very pleased with all the traders that have opened and I'm glad the community have responded by coming out and doing their shopping like they usually would do."