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Kevin Carroll holds a banner on top of FIFA HQ in Zurich

Kevin Carroll holds a banner on top of FIFA HQ in Zurich

A ROOFTOP protest over the ban on the England football team having embroidered poppies on their shirts has cost two English Defence League members £3,000.

EDL leader Stephen Lennon and member Kevin Carroll flew to Switzerland last Tuesday and 24 hours later managed to get on to the roof of the FIFA headquarters in Zurich.

They were demanding England players be allowed to wear poppies on their shirts for their friendly against Spain after the governing body ruled emblems were not allowed because the poppy was seen as a political emblem.

The compromise of allowing the teams to wear black armbands with poppies on was reached after interventions from Prince William and David Cameron.

But Mr Lennon claims his protest was the tipping point.

“FIFA changed their mind after two hours of us being up on that roof,” he said. “Everyone’s saying it was David Cameron but it was us.”

The pair were arrested when they came down from the roof after four hours, and were fined £2,300 and had to pay £700 court costs.

“They said our reasons were just but obviously it was against the law,” said Mr Lennon. “They put us in a grimy prison for three days.”

Their spell behind bars meant the pair were not in London on Friday when 170 English Defence Members were arrested at a pub near the Cenotaph because police believed they were headed for the protest camp at St Paul’s Cathedral.

Mr Lennon said: “They dragged everyone out of the pub and held them for four hours. There was no trouble.

“The police said they were preventing a breach of the peace so they arrested everyone, men and women. But no-one was charged with anything, they were all just released after four hours.”

Luton Today

The Guardian

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A judge and two magistrates decided Kevin Carroll’s behaviour had been likely that day to cause alarm and distress in Luton Town Centre.

But minutes after losing his appeal Mr Carroll a 41 year old carpenter emerged from Luton crown court where his case had been heard to a hero’s welcome.

Scores of young men chanted “EDL, EDL” a reference to the right wing group, The English Defence League.

Mr Carroll addressed the crowd saying “Thank you patriots and people of our great democracy for supporting me.”

He said the country was “falling” more and more under the influence of Sharia law and he and people like him were being “treated like enemies of the state.”

To rousing applause he ended by “God Bless our Troops, God save the Queen.”

Later he said “I am disappointed by the court’s decision but I will accept it on the chin and move on”

He said on the day of the protest by Muslim extremists which had led to his arrest he had been intent on protecting a group of veterans and old soldiers.

He added what upset him most that day was that the extremists had been allowed to protest in front of the soldiers and next to their families who had attended the parade

Caroll, a married man had gone to court earlier in the day to appeal against his conviction earlier this year when he was found guilty of using threatening words and behaviour likely to to cause fear harassment and alarm.

In court Judge Christopher Compston hearing the case was told how on March 10 last year there was a home coming parade by the 2nd Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment through Luton Town Centre.

But within minutes of the march getting underway a group of Islamic extremists staged an anti war protest

They had placards and shouted at the troops “Butchers of Basra” and “British soldiers go to hell.

The group were standing near the town hall and an angry crowd, incensed that the soldiers were being subjected to the protest, began a counter demonstration.

They had to be separated from the young Muslims by a cordon of police officers.

In a stand off the crowd were heard to shout “No surrender to the Talban,” “England, England” and “Scum, Scum Scum.

Carroll of Bolingbroke Road, Luton was captured on town centre CCTV as being part of the crowd angry at the Muslim protest.

He was arrested later by police officers and earlier this year found guilty of the public order offence and given a nine month conditional discharge and told he must pay costs of £175.

In court Mr Carroll said he had been “extremely angry and upset” when he saw the extremists protesting against the soldiers”

He said there was an “instantaneous upset” among many people who had gone to the parade and he had ended as part of a crowd that had vented their anger towards the protesters.

“I just couldn’t believe they had been allowed to do that.

He said at one point he ran towards a group of veterans because he thought the Muslim protester was heading in their protection and he wanted to protect the old soldiers.

“I swore at the extremists, I don’t deny that, but it was a crazy situation. It was not something I condone but there was so much anger and emotion from everyone.”

He added “Everyone was doing the same thing. People were so upset by what these people had done and wanted to give them a piece of their mind”

He added “Everyone in the vicinity was swearing and shouting and roaring”

Mr Carroll denied that he’d been a ring leader that day

Dismissing the appeal Judge Christopher Compston told Carroll “We have no doubt at all that you did use threatening, abusive and insulting words and behaviour which was likely to cause harassment, alarm and distress.”

The judge said the CCTV evidence had been overwhelming and he went on “We dismiss your appeal.

He ordered that Carroll pay further costs of £330.

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