And on that happy note, thank you to everyone who texted to let me know what was going on, and thank you to all those who left comments. Apart from a few arrests, the whole thing seems to have gone off reasonably well (for us) and everyone seems safe. If the police do their jobs and kick the EDL out of town sharpish, Luton can relax and get on with being a happily multi-cultural town, despite any crap that David Cameron might want to spout. Thanks, all.
16.11: A fascist is forcibly removed from our side.
16.04: Speaker announces that EDL wanted 8000 but got 2500 [or less]. Hails this as possibly the beginning of the end for the EDL. Also, praises multi-culturalism and condemns Cameron for his comments yesterday. It is suggested that we should take our inspiration from Egypt.
15.59: Everyone being herded back into square by police.
Hope not hate reports, 'I'm really pleased to report that it seems that today has passed off peacefully. The people of Luton have rejected the provocation of the EDL. One of the main reasons for this was the great work done in the Muslim community to keep their youth off the streets. Hundreds of stewards and dozens of mediation teams were out to reduce tensions and refute the rumours that were circulating. Community elders stood hand in hand to calm youngsters down and encourage people not to rise to the EDL's bait. Across the town, faith leaders from the Christian churches in Luton were on the ground to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Muslim community'.
Socialist Worker reports, 'A delegation from UAF has entered Bury Park to cheers, applause and chants. Earlier in the day they had been blocked by police from entering the area. There is an electric atmosphere at both key points on the anti-fascist side. In Park Square, protesters have pushed the police back a number of times'.
15.40: EDL fighting each other. No damage to town immediately obvious.
15.33: A few of ours were arrested when a large group pushed through police lines. No numbers yet.
15.27: Large number of anti-fascists marching through Muslim area.
15.19: It has just been announced that the mosque attack rumour is untrue and that the Muslim area is quiet. There were 1500 EDL and they are now dispersing.
15.17: Some of our side have broken through police lines.
Nick Lowles at Hope not hate reports, 'There are plenty of rumours flying around. First there was a story that a Koran was burnt up on the Farley Hill estate now there's a rumour that a mosque has been attacked in Bury Park. Neither are true'.
15.14: Just heard that EDL threw firecrackers at police horses during their march.
15.05: We are hearing that a mosque has been attacked. More on that as we get it...
14.58: Park Square rally outnumbering second rally point. A large group of anti-EDL protestors have just moved off to one side of the square to see off some fash.
14.25: Things have calmed down a lot and people are listening to the music.
Richard Howitt, Labour MEP for Luton said: “I am deeply proud that Luton is at the forefront of the fight against the EDL who have manipulated publicity about the march and falsely portrayed themselves. They are an ultra-nationalist far right group with Nazi connections. They are Nazis and we say ‘never again’. They attack all Muslims who tell us they feel villified and attacked by the EDL. The EDL lies about the number of its supporters. I was in the operations room at the Town Hall an hour ago and just four coaches had arrived at that time. We will not fall for their propaganda about numbers. The police have stopped a minibus on the motorway and one person was found to be carrying a club. Why would he want to bring a club to Luton today?”
14.08: A Luton football supporter has just spoken, saying that not all supporters are EDL.
14.06: Someone with a Tony Blair mask has a placard, 'War Criminals say They Shall Not Pass'.
14.03: One of the Sikhs has a placard, 'Guramit Singh, lock him up!' There is now a speaker from a local mosque.
13.53: A stand-off with mounted police. No dogs (yet).
13.51: Attempt to march to the EDL blocked by police.
13.50: A lot of our people have moved up to the police lines.
13.48: Vibrant demo against racist and fascist EDL. Bands good, lots of speakers and stalls. The police have kept us apart from the EDL. They rate us the same as the EDL. We are not!
13.46: Speaker describes EDL as Evil Defence League.
13.42: More speakers; MP and Trades Council speaker (Asian guy who remembers opposing the NF).
13.35: Guys in turbans holding banner, 'Sikhs against the English Defence League. Fighting intolerance since 1699'.
13.33: Group tried to get to Bury Park but were stopped by police and returned to Park Square. There are apparently around 1000 at Bury Park.
13.32: 1000 now at anti-EDL rally.
13.28: EDL march has started. Held up by them fighting with their own stewards, throwing bottles and trying to push through the lines. They are chanting 'Muslim bombers off our streets'.
13.24: 200 more just arriving at rally.
13.20: Large anti-fascist march entering rally square to cheers all round.
13.19: 1000 protecting Asian area, 500 UAF at rally itself. EDL not allowed in yet by police.
13.11: Speakers in support of Muslims fighting in Egypt, condemnation of BBC for promoting EDL and of Cameron for his attack on multi-culturalism. Police keeping some EDL at station - not allowing them into centre.
13.08: Great turnout for the demo. The EDL are in a different square. Police helicopter directly above us.
13.00: Good speeches, many attacking David Cameron for his tirade against multi-culturalism.
12.26: Helicopter overshead. An MEP (not Nick Griffin) is speaking to anti-EDL protestors.
12.16: Some guy in a kilt is doing Irish dancing in the square.
12.12: A bunch of our people just moved off with police going after them.
12.03: We are in a square with music and lots of banners.
11.51am: 14 EDL already arrested for drugs and weapons.
11.47am: Plenty of Asian youth out.
11.25am: Police have been telling shopkeepers their property is endangered by Asian youth, not by the EDL.
11.21am: Centre of Luton is full of police with dogs.
11.17am: The proper story is not that the train was prevented from setting off but that UAF protestors have blockaded Luton Station and prevented the EDL from leaving the platform. Police are trying to get them out.
11.09am: Have heard that UAF demonstrators stopped an EDL train from leaving London