January 4, 2010 / 1:46 PM / 10 years ago

Luton protesters "told soldiers to burn in Hell"

LONDON (Reuters) - A group of Muslim men told British soldiers at a parade last year to herald their homecoming from Iraq to “burn in Hell” and branded them rapists, murderers and baby killers, a court was told on Monday.

Angry scenes broke out during the parade in Luton to mark the return of the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in March.

Prosecutor Avirup Chaudhuri told Luton Magistrates’ Court a large crowd had lined the streets of the town to celebrate the return of the local regiment but a group of protesters had also attended, carrying placards and shouting slogans.

The placards included slogans such as “British Army: murderers,” “British soldiers burn in hell” and “Baby killers shame on you.”

Chaudhuri said police had met would-be protesters beforehand to arrange a place where they could gather and a “no arrest” policy had been agreed.

But the behaviour of some protesters on the day meant the police had to intervene, the Press Association reported.

“There were those among the spectators who were clearly upset by the protesters’ behaviour,” Chaudhuri said. “Police had to act to form a barrier between protesters and spectators.”

The protesters were moved away to an entrance to a shopping centre, he said.

“They continued to shout slogans denouncing the soldiers as rapists and baby killers and calling for them to go to Hell and burn in Hell,” he said.

Police then had to escort the demonstrators away from the town centre. Officers who filmed the event, decided arrests would be made after the footage was reviewed, Chaudhuri said.

Jalal Ahmed, 21, Yousaf Bashir, 29, Jubair Ahmed, 19, Ziaur Rahman, 32, Shajjadar Choudhury, 31, Munim Abdul, 28, and Ibrahim Anderson, 32, all from Luton, were charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison

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