Tommy Robinson: Police hunting two protesters after medic dragged to ground and kicked in head

Investigators say assaults on emergency services are 'attacks on the basic fabric of a civilised society'

Lizzie Dearden
Home Affairs Correspondent
Tuesday 06 August 2019 11:12 BST
Tommy Robinson supporters attack police officer

Police are searching for two men after a medic was dragged to the ground and kicked in the head during a demonstration against Tommy Robinson’s imprisonment.

The Metropolitan Police said demonstrators had attempted to breach a cordon separating them from counter-protesters on Saturday.

“During this incident a police medic was pulled to the ground and kicked in the head by a male,” a spokesperson added.

Footage of the attack was shared on social media and caught on the officers’ body-worn camera.

Superintendent Roy Smith said: “Attacks on police officers, as with an attack on any emergency service worker, are attacks on the basic fabric of a civilised society.

“The sole purpose of deploying police medics to an event is to ensure the safety of those attending and provide care to those who require it.”

Footage from the protest showed officers struggling to maintain order as Tommy Robinson supporters crowded around a police van in central London.

An officer wearing a vest marked “police medic” in large letters was surrounded by several men before disappearing from view as other officers ran in.

The crowd were chanting “shame on you” at police and waving flags, while many were wearing merchandise sold by Robinson’s website.

Three men and a woman were previously arrested over the incident, and 21 others were detained for offences including drunk and disorderly behaviour during a protest that started in Oxford Circus.

A separate counter-demonstration was held by anti-racist and anti-fascist activists in a nearby area of Regent Street.

It came after Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, was jailed for contempt of court for breaking a reporting restriction on linked grooming trials in Leeds.

His supporters characterised the case as an “establishment” crackdown on freedom of speech, but a High Court ruling revealed that Robinson’s Facebook live had sparked an application to dismiss the jury in the second of three linked trials, and an attempt to have a rapist’s conviction overturned.

Police would like to speak to this man in relation to a 'Free Tommy Robinson' protest in London on 3 August 2019 (Metropolitan Police)

Judges threw out claims that the proceedings violated freedom of expression, finding that Robinson had “lied about a number of matters, and sought to portray himself as the victim of unfairness and oppression”.

He was jailed for 19 weeks and will serve half, after judges reduced the term because of his previous imprisonment for contempt of court last year.

Robinson was freed after his first sentence was overturned because of procedural failings, but the attorney general later ordered fresh proceedings.

His initial imprisonment in May 2018 sparked a series of “Free Tommy” protests, which also saw violence break out as supporters targeted police officers.

Supt Smith said police would not stop investigating Saturday’s incident “until those responsible are identified and brought to justice”.

Police would like to speak to this man in relation to a 'Free Tommy Robinson' protest in London on 3 August 2019 (Metropolitan Police)

“I would urge anyone who has information relating to this sickening and cowardly attack to come forward, which you can do in complete confidence,” he added.

“I appeal to those involved, those who were with them on the day, or those who know who they are to do the right thing and come forward.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0208 246 0076, email or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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