London Protests: Rightwing Demonstrators Protecting Statues Clash with Police
The Met Police clashed with demonstrators in London, where thousands, including some far-right activists, gathered despite warnings to avoid protests.
Groups gathered in the center of the capital on June 13, claiming they were protecting statues from anti-racism activists.
UK’s Home Secretary Priti Patel described the violence as “thoroughly unacceptable thuggery”.
Some anti-racism protests have taken place in London and across the UK.
The Met Police had placed restrictions on several groups intending to protest, including having to finish at 17:00 BST, following violent scenes last weekend.
However, several groups remained on the streets of central London after the official cut-off.
As of 17:00 BST, Scotland Yard said they had arrested five people for offences including violent disorder, assault on police, possession of an offensive weapon, being drunk and disorderly and possession of Class A drugs.
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As some protestors moved towards Waterloo Station around 18:00 BST, both the underground and mainline station were temporarily closed due to the protests – but later reopened.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged protesters to leave to prevent further violence and the spread of coronavirus in London.
Various groups from around the country, including some far-right activists, said they had come to London to protect symbols of British history.
Hundreds of mostly white men gathered around the Cenotaph war memorial in Whitehall and the boarded-up statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square.
There were a number of clashes with police in riot gear as crowds – chanting “England” and raising their arms – surged towards lines of officers.
Some protesters managed to break metal barriers around the Cenotaph on Whitehall while hurling flag poles, a smoke flare and a traffic cone towards police who were striking them back with batons.
Large groups of right-wing protesters then moved to Trafalgar Square, where fireworks were thrown across the crowds.
A statement from the London Ambulance Service said it had treated 15 patients, including two police officers, for injuries at the protests.
Police attempted to stop protesters getting to Hyde Park where an anti-racist demonstration, which had largely been peaceful, was taking place.
Organizers from the Black Lives Matter movement had urged people not to join any anti-racism rallies planned for the weekend over fears there could be clashes with far-right groups. One demonstration planned for June 13 in London was brought forward by a day.