Home Secretary Theresa May has said she will be "actively looking at" whether to ban a controversial US pastor from entering the UK.
Terry Jones attracted condemnation when he threatened to burn copies of the Koran on this year's 9/11 anniversary.
He has been invited to the UK to share his views on Islam with activists.
Ms May told Sky News that Mr Jones had "been on her radar for a few months" and that "this is a case I will be actively looking at".
She said she had the power as home secretary to exclude an individual from coming to the UK if she considered they were not conducive to the public good or threatened national security.
Mr Jones has said his presence at an English Defence League rally in February would be "positive" but he admitted he would preach against "extremist Muslims".
Unite Against Fascism said it would be holding an anti-racism demonstration.
And the anti-extremist group Hope Not Hate is urging the home secretary to act.
The EDL said on its Facebook page that the rally in Luton, Bedfordshire, on 5 February would be "our biggest to date". It said Mr Jones would be joining the organisation to "speak out against the evils of Islam".
Mr Jones, pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, which has fewer than 50 members, told BBC 5 Live he had "no intention" of burning the Koran in the UK.
'Intimidation and division' He said his speech would be "on harmony, on the subject that Muslims are welcome in our country".
He said: "We have no problem with Muslims - we have freedom of speech and religion - Muslims who want to make our country their country, obey our laws and constitution.
"We have a problem with them, which I believe you all have also, when they go on the street... and they call for the death of the UK, for the death of Israel, for the death of America. They call for Sharia law.
"They say they are going to turn Buckingham Palace into a mosque and the Queen must convert to Islam or leave the country."
Mr Jones admitted that his knowledge of the EDL was "somewhat limited".
"It's only what I know through conversations with them that my office has had and then of course the different material in the internet that they have put out. I would describe them as a group who, I believe, in their words they want England to stay English."
Weyman Bennett, joint national secretary of Unite Against Fascism, said: "Terry Jones is coming here to whip up Islamophobia and racism.
"We intend on calling a mass demonstration where everyone can oppose the growth of racism and fascism in this country."
Anti-extremist group Hope not Hate condemned the invitation to Mr Jones and has launched a petition calling on the home secretary to ban him from entering the UK.
Its director Nick Lowles said: "Only extremists will benefit from his visit and, as we know, extremism breeds hatred and hatred breeds violence.
Theresa May says Terry Jones's case has been known to her for several months "It is yet another example of how the EDL exists only to sow the seeds of intimidation and division."
George Readings, spokesman for counter-extremism think tank, Quilliam said: "Terry Jones is only coming to the UK to address a rally by the EDL, a far-right group whose protests have a track record of degenerating into violence.
"This suggests that his presence in the UK will not be conducive to the public good. The EDL has only invited him here to stir up trouble."
Mr Jones came to prominence in September after he announced plans for his "International Burn a Koran Day".
His plan was internationally condemned and sparked many demonstrations around the world. He eventually called off his protest.
The Muslim community are hoping for a new place of worship, after applying to transform a biker bar - but not if the BNP get their way.
Former music venue, The Plough, on Manor Road, Bletchley, is planned to be converted into a mosque, as the current Duncombe Road venue has become too small for the widening community.
Over the past weekend, the British National Party branch in the city launched a public campaign comprising leaflets, petitions and public protest actions against the conversion of a pub into a mosque in Bletchley.
BNP organiser, Kieren Trent said: "We decided to start the campaign after being approached by angry members of the public.
"We have warned local people about the threat of creeping Islamification, and the conversion of an English pub into a mosque shows how our culture is gradually being replaced by a different culture.
"Another mosque in the area will change the nature and character of the area, as has happened everywhere else where these buildings have been allowed."
Mr Kalamdar Ali, 54, secretary at Bletchley Mosque, said: "If the application goes ahead, we will be using the building for worship, especially on a Friday.
"Right now, the mosque at Duncombe Road simply is too busy for the residential area, and the traffic is really bad.
"So we want to open this new mosque to give the local people another place to pray.
"The community has grown so much, and with opening a new mosque, it could help a lot.
"The property at Manor Road isn't that big, but what we are hoping is that eventually we can get permission for an extension which we could then use for anyone in the community to hold events, meetings and educational classes."
Mr Ali, of Bangladeshi origin, opened the first Indian restaurant in the city 35 years ago, The Golden Curry in Bletchley. He also owns the Passage to India restaurant in Stony Stratford.
I was a member of the BNP and the British First party. As you know.
What led me to this path and making these mistakes may be of interest to you but what saved me from it and the fact I have woken up should be.
I have seen on the Searchlight website the motto ‘Hope not Hate’. I believe you do not harbour hatred of any one, I hope you don’t. Even those in the BNP and other organisations like it. If that is the case and you can forgive and believe in that hope as I do, there is hope for me and the opposition against the far right.
I left the British First Party, the BNP and all other organisations like it. Indeed I have been threatened by the EDL to keep away from them as they try to represent a front of non racism (hardly a claim to fame).
I left without any statements or reasoning to them because I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t carry around with me a constant hatred, a constant fear and suspicion of everything diverse, I couldn’t bear the burden of such negativity weighing heavy in my heart another second longer. And I just couldn’t cope with the constant barrage of racism, historic distortion and evil ranting at every meeting and on every bulletin.With the love and support of a beautiful Lady and the companionship of the Lord I have re-discovered my humanity.
This humanity exists in the vast majority of those you oppose (granted not all). If you can reach out to that, if you can try and connect with this humanity then there is hope. Hope that people can accept a better way of living, and a better outlook on their future without the need to perpetuate a sense of fear and destruction spread by these parties.It is easy to move on from all this hideousness and find a growing harmony.
I am not pitching my services as a reformed character to your efforts as I believe I would not be trusted (rightly so considering my history), and I’m sure you will read this with a high degree of scepticism, but to be perfectly honest I just want my life back, and atone for what I have done in charitable works completely unconnected with any politics what so ever.
I hope my post here is of interest to you. Please publish it if you think there is a chance it could boost your readers/activists resolve to continue with hope in their hearts and perhaps remind others to reconnect with their own humanity within these organisations (and leave them.)
Police have launched an investigation after a petrol station in Toddington was daubed with racist graffiti at the weekend.
The busy BP garage and its Spar supermarket in Dunstable Road were targeted by vandals overnight on Friday, with the letters ‘BNP’ sprayed repeatedly on walls, the forecourt, pumps and shop shutters. It is believed the vandalism happened between 11pm on Friday and 6am on Saturday, when the garage re-opened for business.
A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said the incident was being treated as criminal damage, and on Saturday morning officers were at the scene photographing the graffiti.
The garage, which has several Asian members of staff, last month had one of its pumps damaged when workers tried to stop a motorist driving away without paying for petrol. The garden fence of a house opposite the filling station was also damaged in a similar incident.
Jim Gledhill, chairman of Toddington Parish Council, said he was disappointed with the attack on a business popular with villagers. He said: “These are people who provide a really good service to the village, and it shouldn’t matter to anybody what their background is. It disgusts me. They had managed to clean up a lot of it but it was still very visible on the brickwork.”
Councillor Gledhill said he would be raising the issue at the parish council’s meeting last night (Wednesday), and hoped the council would be able to help the garage with the cost of the clean-up. Asked whether support for the BNP was an issue in the village, Councillor Gledhill said he thought there were a small number of people in the village with “racist views”.
“It’s a problem you wouldn’t really expect in Toddington,” he said. “I hope it’s just stupid children who will learn better in the future.”
Back Row Pat Richardson (Epping) Len Blain (Chelmsford) Kieron Trent (Milton Keynes) Stuart Freeman (Southend)
Front Row Dennis Pearce (Kingsbury London) Janet Price (Hemel Hempstead) Colin Cooper (Borehamwood) Paul Morris (Epping) Danny Seabrook (Potters Bar)
Of course with Eddie Butler an official outsider in the BNP camp, it was only a matter of time before the Party Leadership purged the Eastern region of its dissident forces. The above "before and after" shots show the number of reps reduced by 2/3rds with both the Bedfordshire (Jim Smith) and Luton and South Beds camps not represented. The Herts and Milton Keynes groups, represented by Danny Seabrook and Kieran Trent respectively, have remained loyal to Griffin. Broxbourne powerhouse Steve McCole was absent though as well as the Three Rivers councillors and Markyate independent Simon Deacon. Peter Fehr in Luton is also in the Butler camp as well as Leighton Buzzard's Shelley Rose - who would blame the poor girl. Robin Johnstone from Bedford appears disillusioned about the whole affair and sits on the fence, disappointed that old friends have fallen out.
Here's the report from the BNP website, for what it's worth :
"Long serving British National Party councillor Pat Richardson has been appointed the Eastern Region’s new membership secretary as part of a major overhaul of party’s local organisation, reports regional organiser Paul Morris.
Speaking after what he described as a “massively successful” Eastern Regional Council meeting, Mr Morris said Cllr Richardson’s appointment was one of many made at the gathering.
Cllr Richardson will now be responsible for making sure the branches are kept up to date with all the relevant enquiry information that future campaigns bring in.
“The regional executive decided exactly how we are going to proceed with local and regional issues and the growth of the British National Party in the region as a whole,” Mr Morris said.
“There were some new faces round the table at this meeting, including Cllrs Richardson and Rod Law, who attended for the first time in their capacities as new councillor representatives,” he said.
“In addition, a new regional press officer, Kieren Trent, was appointed. He produced a fresh set of ideas on how to promote the region and local branches.
“The success of the ‘bring our troops home’ campaign has shown to many activists that the public are behind us on key British National Party policies and issues,” Mr Morris continued.
“It has highlighted that it’s up to us to get out there and tell the public exactly what the BNP are about not what the lying media tell them.
“The region is facing change in many areas, such as housing and jobs, about which the public has not been consulted or made aware of. We intend to address these issues with maximum effect.
Delegates were also nominated to attend the intensive election training which is currently being rolled out across all sectors of the party."
Three EDL members charged with affray and public order offences during a “Tea Party” rabbi’s speech at Speakers Corner have had their case sent to Crown Court. Shortly after their demonstration on Sunday outside the Israeli Embassy in Kensington, EDL supporters made their way to Hyde Park where Rabbi Nachum Shifren, the so-called "surfing rabbi" from California, gave a short speech. The rabbi had earlier called Muslims “dogs” and told the EDL “We will never surrender to the sword of Islam." Bryan Kelso, 28, from Luton, Christopher Long, 38, from Roehampton and Brian Bristow, 37, from Doncaster were charged with affray and public order offences. They appeared today at Westminster Magistrates Court. No pleas were entered and the men were given conditional bail.
Are we mistaken, or is that the English Defence League's Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (AKA Tommy Robinson pictured on the far left at a 2007 Luton BNP meeting in the King Harry Pub ? Speaking is Richard Edmonds, veteran Holocaust denier and BNP activist with a string of violent convictions. Also present on the top table is the then Beds/Bucks BNP organiser Steve Sherwood as well as John Pater, activist with the BNP as well as the national socialist November 9th Society.
• Bedford: Conservative: Richard Fuller; Labour: Patrick Hall; Lib Dem: Henry Vann; BNP: William Dewick
• Mid Bedfordshire: Conservative: Nadine Dorries; Labour: David Reeves; Lib Dem: Linda Jack; Green: Malcolm Bailey; UK Independence Party: Bill Hall
• North East Bedfordshire: Conservative: Alistair Burt; Labour: Edward Brown; Lib Dem: Mike Pitt; BNP: Ian Seeby
• South West Bedfordshire: Conservative: Andrew Selous; Labour: Jennifer Bone; BNP: Mark Tolman
• Luton North: Conservative: Jeremy Brier; Labour: Kelvin Hopkins; Lib Dem: Rabi Martins; Green: Simon Hall; BNP: Shelley Rose
• Luton South: Conservative: Nigel Huddleston; Labour: Gavin Shuker; Lib Dem: Qurban Hussain; Green: Marc Scheimann; UK Independence Party: Charles Lawman; Independent: Esther Rantzen; Independent: Stephen Rhodes; Independent: Joe Hall; Independent: Stephen Lathwell; BNP: Tony Blakey
• Aylesbury: Conservative: David Lidington; Labour: Kathryn Perera; Lib Dem: Steven Lambert; UK Independence Party: Christopher Adams
• Buckingham: Speaker: John Bercow; UK Independence Party: Nigel Farage; Independent: Patrick Phillips; Independent: John Stevens; BNP: Lynne Mozar; Independent: Geoff Howard
• Chesham and Amersham: Conservative: Cheryl Gillan; Labour: Anthony Gajadharsingh; Lib Dem: Tim Starkey; Green: Nick Wilkins; UK Independence Party: Jim Matthews
• Milton Keynes North: Conservative: Mark Lancaster; Labour: Andrew Pakes; Lib Dem: Jill Hope; Green: Alan Francis; UK Independence Party: Michael Phillips
Following a report earlier today of the resignation of Emma Colgate from her post as BNP manager, the BNP has amended its national contacts spreadsheet. Absent are Colgate, Eddy Butler, the former national organiser and national elections officer, and Mark Collett, the former head of publicity.
The changes confirm the stories circulating on nazi web forums that the unpopular Collett has finally fallen out of favour. A BNP organisers’ bulletin circulated on 31 March referred to “financial irregularities and ‘scamming’ concerning the procurement of print, especially large election print run, leaflets and regular publications including Identity magazine”. It appears that Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, has finally accepted that there is substance to the long-standing accusations that Collett has been making a huge personal profit on the design and print procurement he carries out for the party.
Collett is also accused of leaking “sensitive party information” onto the internet and “feeding lies to certain anti-BNP blog sites”.
The organisers’ bulletin continues: “Earlier this week, the police were made aware of very serious allegations potentially affecting the personal safety of Party chairman Nick Griffin MEP and senior management/fundraising consultant James Dowson. Formal statements have now been made to the police, including by Mr. Griffin.”
Although the bulletin says it the party is “unable to provide any further details in order not to prejudice any resulting legal proceedings”, it goes on to announce that: “Mark Collett was conspiring with a small clique of other party officials to launch a ‘palace coup’ against our twice democratically elected party leader, Nick Griffin, and that in order to create the artificial climate of disillusionment necessary for this to stand any chance of success, lies and unfounded rumours have been spread, and were planned to be spread much further. Mr. Collett has therefore been relieved of all positions within the Party with immediate effect.”
As a result Collett’s Wikipedia entry was updated with incredible haste to state that he “was Director of Publicity for the Party before being suspended from the party in early April 2010”.
A second organisers’ bulletin calls on “regional organisers and key officials” to attend an “urgent briefing meeting” on Easter Monday, which “will cover recent events, urgent organisational matters, including a crucial update from our new National Elections Officer Clive Jefferson”. Jefferson, who only a few months ago was promoted to North West regional organiser, quietly replaces Butler in the national elections officer role. He is also one of the BNP officers fraudulently on the European Parliament payroll.
All this comes at the worst possible time for the BNP, five weeks before elections in which it hopes to win control of Barking and Dagenham council and get Griffin and Simon Darby, the party's deputy leader, elected to the House of Commons.
Collett stood trial alongside Griffin in 2006 on race hate charges and was acquitted. Although Griffin always stood by him, he knew Collett was a fool. “I constantly have to lecture Mark Collett about all sorts of things,” said Nick Griffin. “He is a pig ignorant man. Often it goes in one ear and straight out of the other.”
A few years ago Collett starred in a Channel 4 documentary called Young, Nazi and Proud, in which he said he would prefer to live in 1930s Nazi Germany than in today’s Britain. He also attacked Winston Churchill and the British Royal Family.
A teenager found guilty of carrying out a racially aggravated assault when a mob went on a town centre rampage has been jailed for 16 months.
Kier McElroy, of Langford Drive, Luton, attacked an Asian man in a shop doorway in Chapel Street on May 24, 2009.
McElroy, 19, hit the man across the head with a placard he was holding.
On March 5 a jury at Luton Crown Court, decided McElroy was guilty of racially aggravated assault occasioning actual bodily harm on a Luton student.
He had earlier admitted assaulting the student, occasioning him actual bodily harm and a second charge of affray, which resulted from his actions that day.
CCTV images of McElroy taking part in the rampage Speaking after the sentencing on Friday, Detective Sergeant Maz Wheeler said: “Officers from Bedfordshire Police painstakingly reviewed CCTV of this incident to ensure all evidence was put before the court and this successful prosecution was achieved.
“I hope the sentence given today serves as a lesson to anyone who gets involved in violent crime within our town.
“Any kind of violent or hate crime within our town simply is not acceptable and Bedfordshire Police will always pursue those who engage in such behaviour and bring them before the courts.”
By far the most extreme out of the three election addresses. Rose hammers race again and again. Thanks to the insider who contacted us to say that she is "turning a bit bit loopy" - it appears it from this rant.
"I’m proud to be your Parliamentary candidate for Luton North. I am standing here to give local people a voice, so you can speak out against the establishment politicians who just don’t listen. Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems all say Luton is a ‘diverse’ town, I say Luton is a town divided. Mass immigration has turned Luton into a place where many people feel like foreigners in their own home town. It’s not racist to oppose political correctness and mass immigration – it’s commonsense. I am proud to stand for Christian values and not afraid to discuss the issues that matter to you – issues the other parties choose to ignore.The British National Party will put local people first. Whilst other parties have pandered to minority groups we will represent everyone, but ensure that the wishes of the majority are top of the list. After all, ensuring that those who have paid in are put first for housing, health care and pensions is only fair. A vote for me is a vote for fairness, commonsense and to put British people first."
"I am standing here to give local people a voice" But she doesn't have a clue about Luton issues - she comes from across the County in Leighton Buzzard.
"Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems all say Luton is a ‘diverse’ town, I say Luton is a town divided." The Community Safety Survey, in June 2009, showed that 82% of people believe Luton is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together.
"I am proud to stand for Christian values" BNP values and Christian values don't mix. Last year the Church of England banned BNP members from becoming ministers. If elected, Rose would not let black people open churches in Bramingham or Wigmore.
"We will represent everyone, but ensure that the wishes of the majority are top of the list." Rose wants a return to a whites-only Britain. Black and Asian people have lived here for years and are a welcome part of our town. The "wishes of the majority" have meant that the BNP has always had no success in elections round here.
"Ensuring that those who have paid in are put first for housing, health care and pensions is only fair." The BNP would rather have us living in a South African apartheid-style society where people who have paid taxes for years come bottom of the queue - all because of their colour.
Justice was meted out to four of English Defence League supporters on 19th January after two violent disturbances held in Luton in response to the protest made by anti-war demonstrators at the Luton homecoming parade by the Royal Anglian Regiment on March 10th 2009. Richard Myers (21,) Tony Griffiths (27,) Simon Hattle (21,) - all from Luton - and James Butler (18) from West Sussex. All three had already pleaded guilty to affray and were sentenced for between four and seven months in jail. Their offences took place at a protest against Islamic extremism on March 24th which quickly descended into violence. In scenes of great confusion, a small orderly protest by "March for England" was hi-jacked by supporters of "United People of Luton" - an early prototype for the English Defence League. As the Luton News put it (Jan 21st) "groups of yobs, many draped in the flag of St. George, wearing balaclavas and shirts bearing the Luton Town Football Club logo, went on the rampage, fighting battles with the 200 hundred police who were drafted in from across 3 forces." Richard Newcombe of Bedfordshire Crown Prosecution Service said "CCTV footage clearly showed the men displaying violent behaviour towards others, by kicking out at bystanders and goading police officers. It was part of the prosecution case that some of the defendants deliberately directed part of their violent behaviour towards Asian bystanders."
Three other men who pleaded guilty to the same charge Luke Allsop (28,) Robert Rowe (18,) and Daniel Schreiber (24,) will reappear before Luton Magistrates Court on February 4th for sentencing after having their case adjourned. Another man, Kier McElroy is due to stand trial for racially aggravated actual bodily harm on a date yet to be fixed. McElroy is accused of fly-kicking the Sikh Mayor of Luton, Lakhbir Singh, on the day of the Royal Anglian Regiment march. The same event as lead to a further two Luton men appearing at Luton Magistrate's Court on Friday 22nd January.Brian Kelso, of Chapel Street, Luton, and Carroll, of Bollingbroke Road, Luton, pleaded not guilty at Luton Magistrates' Court to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress. Both men were part of a hostile crowd who confronted the Muslim protesters and told them to "f*** off", prosecutor Avirup Chaudhuri said. They also sung a song with the words "Bin Laden's mother is a whore", he told the court. Kelso, a father who had wanted to join the army himself, told the Muslims to "get out of my f****** country" and made obscene gestures, Mr Chaudhuri said. He can be seen on CCTV footage approaching the protesters aggressively and having to be pushed back by the police, he added. Carroll called the Muslims "scum" and "w******", he said, and could be seen on CCTV footage shouting and gesticulating at them. Mr Chaudhuri said: "The two men were in the vanguard of the hostile crowd." Both men accepted that the language they had used was abusive. Father-of-one Carroll, a carpenter, told the court he was "extremely angry and outraged" at the Muslims' protest against the British army. He was not a member of the National Front and was not a racist, he said in his police interview. The trial was adjourned to 5 March and both men were released on bail.
Carroll worded his statement about party affiliation very carefully. True, he has never shown signs of National Front affiliation, but he has been an enthusiastic BNP supporter, living on the same estate as Luton BNP organiser Peter Fehr. He is well-known to local anti-fascists and was only dissuaded from standing as a candidate in the 2007 Luton Council elections by a last-minute plea from his partner, Mary Stevenson. He did, however, sign nomination papers along with Stevenson for the BNP candidate for Farley in that election - Robert Sheddock - and in doing so shows his political colours. In response to this plethora of unwelcome news stories, Luton Borough Council have launched a new campaign to improve community cohesion in the town - Luton in Harmony. The campaign hopes to reach out to the whole community and build a positive reputation for the town by celebrating its diversity.
"ANTI-BNP activists will meet in St Albans this evening to mobilise opposition against the controversial far right political party ahead of the impending General Election.
Three Counties Unite Against Fascism will hold the meeting at Fleetville Community Centre in Royal Road from 7.30pm.
Anti-fascist campaigner John Berry said: "It's a planning meeting for people to discuss how we may react in St Albans if there are BNP candidates in the forthcoming election. As yet we have no indication that there will be, but if it is the case then they can expect to have fairly vigorous opposition."
The meeting in St Albans coincides with today's Dacorum Borough Council by election in which the BNP are fielding a candidate."
Janet Price is standing in a bye-election for the BNP in Adeyfield West ward, Hemel Hempstead on March 11th. On a lovely morning, a great turnout of 18 people delivered over 1,000 anti-fascist leaflets in under the hour - very many thanks to all involved, including those of you who couldn't make it on this occasion but sent apologies.
Thanks, too, to local Labour and Lib Dem members who provided us with useful advice and information - very much appreciated.
Two men who shouted "scum, scum, scum" at Muslim protesters during a soldiers' homecoming parade have been convicted of committing a public order offence.
Bryan Kelso, 27, of Hartley Road, and Kevin Carroll, 40, of Bollingbroke Road, both in Luton, both denied committing the offence in March 2009.
Magistrates in the town convicted the men following a trial.
They both received a nine-month conditional discharge and were ordered to pay costs of £175 each.
The men had denied using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress on 10 March.
The court had heard they were among a crowd of "25 to 30 hardcore protestors" shouting at Muslim demonstrators during a parade of the Royal Anglian Regiment.
Insp David Atraghji had told magistrates there were shouts directed at the extremists of "Bin Laden's wife is a whore" and "go and have a shave".
The men were captured by BBC News cameras covering the parade in Luton He added he had seen finger and hand gestures, and the Muslim protesters were told in explicit terms by the crowd to "go home".
In a police interview, the court heard, Kelso said the protesters were abusing people he considered heroes.
"My intention was to give them a piece of my mind," he added.
"If they want to be like that, they should go back where they came from.
Speaking after the hearing, Supt Mark Turner said: "Luton town has enjoyed excellent community relations for a number of years but it seems last year a small minority came to the town to cause disorder.
"There has been extensive public consultation and work behind the scenes to strengthen community cohesion in the town."
A man who admitted assaulting the Asian mayor of a town after Muslim extremists protested against British troops returning from Iraq, told a jury today (Thursday, March 4) he was not a racist.
Kier McElroy, 19, was giving evidence about his part in a demonstration two months later in which it's alleged he attacked a young Asian student in a shop doorway.
Mr McElroy has admitted assaulting the man occasioning him actual bodily harm as well as affray, but he denies a charge of racially aggravated assault on the victim Venkateswara Muppalla.
Mr McElroy was arrested by Bedfordshire Police in July last year, two months after a right wing march in Luton had ended in violence.
The demonstration on the afternoon of Sunday May 24 had involved a group of around 200-300 young men who marched through Luton town centre.
Luton Crown Court was told that the march was in response to a homecoming parade on March 10 last year by the Royal Anglian Regiment through Luton, which had been targeted by Muslim extremists.
On that occasion, young Muslims had carried banners and chanted slogans calling the soldiers "Butchers of Basra", "Baby killers" and "Murderers."
At the start of the trial, Sarah Porter prosecuting said the crown's case was that Mr McElroy had been involved in the violence on May 24 last year. She said he could not be identified immediately because, in addition to his bright orange top and jeans that he was wearing that day, his face was also covered for part of the time with a black balaclava.
She then told how that afternoon Mr Muppalla and his friend Vijaychaitanya Kovvuri, who were students at the university, were walking along George Street in the town centre when they became aware of a large group walking towards them.
The court heard that, on seeing other young Asian males running from the crowd into Chapel Street, the two students decided to follow them.
The jury heard that Mr Kovvuri managed to get into a chicken shop and the door was then locked.
As a result, said Miss Porter, Mr Muppalla was left locked outside in the doorway as he found himself surrounded by people from the demonstration.
The jury have been told that Mr McElroy was part of that group and was holding a banner which it is alleged he used to then strike Mr Muppalla.
The prosecutor told the jury that they would have to decide whether the assault was racially aggravated.
She told the court how, on March 10, when the homecoming parade of the Royal Anglian Regiment had been targeted by young Muslims, the defendant had assaulted the Mayor of Luton that day.
Dealing with the assault on May 24 last year of Mr Muppalla, Miss Porter said: "The crown say he attacked someone who was Asian simply because they were Asian."
In the witness box Mr Muppalla said he and his friend went into Chapel Street on seeing the crowd, because they wanted to try and get behind the police.
He said on finding himself locked outside the shop, he was then struck once in the face.
As a result, he said he was knocked to the floor and then, when he was picked up, he was struck with a "stick".
In the witness box, Mr McElroy of Langford Drive, Luton, said he had been present in Luton town centre on March 10 last year when he saw the protest taking place against the troops.
"I thought it was disgusting that it was allowed to happen," he told the jury.
He said that on seeing the mayor, he ran up to him and kicked him because, he told the jury, he was the one who had given the protestors permission to be there.
He said the attack was nothing to do with race or colour and he later pleaded guilty to an offence of common assault on the mayor.
Turning then to the May 24 demonstration, he said he thought it had been organised by a group called "United People of Luton".
He said he went into Luton that day, adding "I thought it was disgusting what they did against the troops."
In the town centre, he said he starting drinking at around 10am and continued throughout the day. He agreed that, at one stage, he had worn a face mask which he said was of a "creature of hate" who also had links with Al Qaeda.
He said there had been some chanting against Muslims in general, but he said those responsible were a minority and at the back of the crowd.
Asked what sort of chanting he had been involved in, he admitted he had shouted "scum" but said the words were aimed at the police, saying the reason was they had not done anything about the demonstration against the troops.
He said in Chapel Street he became aware of a conflict outside a shop. He said: "I got involved, I was drunk. My vision was cloudy and I assaulted someone."
He said it was not justified and he had not said anything before striking his victim.
Asked if he had assaulted Mr Muppalla because of his race, he replied: "No, he could have been black, white or Asian. It would not have mattered, I didn't know what I was doing."
Asked if he was a racist, he replied that he wasn't and there were Muslims in his own family as well as Sikhs.
Luton BNP look like importing a Leighton Buzzard activist to contest one of the two general election seats. Fresh from deceiving the British Legion by booking their hall under the false name of "British Heritage" (yawn) Shelley has unveiled her long-standing plan to stand that follows on from a December 12th "Yuletide" party fundraiser. Meanwhile, here's an extract from a February edition of Leighton Buzzard online that declares her candidacy :
"SUPPORTERS of the controversial British National Party defied their critics and held a political rally in Leighton.
People turning up to the recruitment meeting, originally planned for the Royal British Legion in West Street, were redirected to a town centre pub less than a mile away.
More than 60 people attended to listen to Shelley Rose, one of the BNP's parliamentary hopefuls, talk about the furore.
This week Ms Rose claimed she told RBL club secretary, Eileen Johnson, that the booking was for the BNP and asked her on three occasions to confirm the date with the building's managers.
"I wasn't trying to hoodwink anyone," said Ms Rose, who intends to contest one of the Luton seats at the next general election."
THE BNP has vowed to hold its meeting in Leighton Buzzard today – but it will not reveal where. The British National Party had booked the hall of the Royal British Legion for a meeting. However, after an outcry from the public and the town’s MP, the armed forces’ organisation cancelled the booking on Monday. They say they booked it as a political meeting in early January, and did not know the BNP was involved. Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire and member of the town’s branch of the Legion, was ‘astounded’ to hear the meeting was taking place – particularly because it fell on Holocuast Memorial Day.
He told LB NEWS yesterday: “Given that this country fought fascism during the Second World War, I was absolutely astounded to find they were holding a meeting at there. “I was so astounded I nearly dropped the phone “Now they’ve agreed to cancel it I think that’s the right decision. “There are plenty of places the BNP can go. They can have a meeting in a room above a pub. “I think it would have been the most tremendous coup for them to hold the meeting on Holocause Memorial Day at that venue.” Several constituents told Mr Selous they would have resigned from the Legion if the meeting, which was only for BNP members, had gone ahead. He has written to the national chairman asking for them to issue guidance to all clubs. The Royal British Legion is an organisation which supports the families and members of the Armed Forces, past and present. Hoping to distance their campaign from the BNP, in May their national chairman wrote to the party’s leader Nick Griffin asking him not to wear a poppy. Eileen Johnson, the Legion’s secretary, said: “Everything’s all finished with now. We’re hoping it’s all going away. “Because of the people that were complaining we were asked that it be cancelled. We booked it in early January as a politicial meeting.” A national spokesman for the Legion said that clubs are independent and can take bookings at their own discretion, however they dissociate themselves from political organisations.