EEAST assist Luton EDL march

Tuesday, 22 February, 2011

On Saturday, February 5, the East of England Ambulance Service played a pivotal role in the smooth running of the much publicised EDL march which took place in Luton, Bedfordshire.

Billed as the homecoming by the English Defence League back to Luton, thousands turned out in support of the Anti-Islamicist cause. The Unite Against Fascism held a counter-demonstration in the town.

The crowds of EDL supporters who came from all over England, as well as support from European organisations met up at the pubs adjacent to Luton train station. The UAF made an initial stance in the station early on which prevented some of the EDL arrivals from London making their way out without a heavy police presence.

The station was blocked for some time, although the police did eventually clear this. By one o'clock the march formed up, and there was a bit of confrontation and general agitation but it made its way to the rally point without too much problem. A number of speeches took place. After about an hour a large part of the rally started leaving for the station.

Gordon Street, a side street in the centre of the town became a make shift medical centre for the day where EEAST set up its base. Both ends of the street were cordoned off to the public and several police were on standby to assist the crews. A local night club kindly opened its doors and this was turned into a makeshift treatment and refreshments centre which was kindly received by the crews. HART operatives worked closely alongside emergency care practitioners and support staff treating and assessing 19 patients in total that were brought to the medical tent, mainly by the HART Polaris vehicle, which was able to reach patients both in the inner and outer cordons.

Dave Fountain, forward incident officer who coordinated the medical response at the event said: "Saturday demonstrations went very smoothly and I wish to thank everyone who was involved in the pre planning stages and on the day. The team of paramedics and hazardous area response team operatives worked extremely well alongside our colleagues from the police and partnership agencies. Out of the 19 patients, only 6 required hospitalisation, which is a very pleasing figure as there were several thousand at the march throughout the day."

Neil Storey, associate director of emergency operations said: "I am proud that the trust delivered such a high standard of care and professionalism during a difficult and volatile period. This is clearly demonstrated when we as a trust receives a high level of recognition from external parties for the way in which we dealt with such an incident, well done."

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