Police have been out in force in Luton town centre this afternoon as a group of English Defence League members and scores of other men had to be seperated by officers.
The stand off saw angry exchanges between EDL members and opposing groups in St George's Square as lines of police officers, some on horseback formed a line to keep the groups apart.
EDL members had earlier gathered at Yates's, next door to Luton Crown Court, where Kevin Carroll was having his appeal heard. They then moved on to The Castle.
Carroll, along with Bryan Kelso, was convicted of public order offences in March following trouble at the homecoming parade for the Poachers in Luton town centre last year.
Carroll's appeal was dismissed.
Greeted from court by his supporters, Carroll said: "I'm not against Muslims, I'm against extremist ideology. This was causing massive disruption in this town . I would do it again no matter what it cost, even if it costs me my living."
The group then attempted to make their way through town towards the White House pub in Bridge Street, but were met with a police cordon on George Street.
They were eventually allowed to pass, but there was a confrontation when alcohol was allegedly thrown at a group of Asian men.
A stand off in St George's Square then ensued with groups separated by lines of police officers, who drew their batons when missiles were thrown.
The stand off saw officers drafted in from the Metropolitan Police, some of them on horseback, and the British Transport Police, with police dogs later brought in to help control the crowds.
The situation now appears to have calmed down with groups dispersed.
A spokesman for Bedfordshire Police said earlier: "From time to time there are cases heard in the courts that have the potential of provoking behaviour inappropriate to a busy town centre such as Luton.
"In an attempt to prevent this from occurring today, we have increased the police presence and patrols in the area around the crown court.
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