Page last updated at 13:43 GMT, Monday, 4 January 2010

Soldiers at Luton homecoming march 'branded killers'

The men are accused of chanting slogans at the troops

A group of men branded soldiers at a homecoming parade murderers and baby killers, a court has heard.

Slogans were chanted as the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, marched through Luton, Bedfordshire.

People supporting troops in March last year were visibly upset by the protest, Luton Magistrates' Court was told.

The seven men, from Luton, have denied using threatening, abusive or insulting words and behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm and distress.

Those accused are Jalal Ahmed, 21, Yousaf Bashir, 29, Ibrahim Anderson, 32, Jubair Ahmed, 19, Ziaur Rahman, 32, Shajjadar Choudhury, 31, and Munim Abdul, 29.

Refused to stand

Prosecutor Avirup Chaudhuri said: "The procession took place to celebrate the return of the local army regiment from duties in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"As they marched towards Upper George Street a group of protesters at an unofficial demonstration started to shout and chant."

Mr Chaudhuri said: "A number of spectators were clearly upset."

He added the case was brought against the men on the basis of what was said rather than on the words on placards they carried.

The offending words spoken by the seven men included: "British soldiers, murderers", "British soldiers, baby killers", "British soldiers go to hell" and "British soldiers, you will pay".

"It is contended all those slogans go beyond legitimate protests," the prosecutor said.

The case continues.

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