London protests: Demonstrators throw bottles and run into police as they 'defend' memorials

Violence in capital as groups say they will defend Winston Churchill statue which, er, has been boarded up anyway

Colin Drury@colin__drury
Saturday 13 June 2020 15:46
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Thugs attack riot police at BLM counter protest in London

Clashes have broken out between police and protestors in London as thousands of people descended on the capital vowing to “defend” memorials.

Footage posted to social media shows demonstrators throwing missiles – including empty vodka bottles – at officers near Parliament Square.

A separate video showed a group of protesters launching punches at police officers dressed in riot gear.

Police have said they have intelligence some may have travelled to London carrying weapons.

The violence comes as hundreds of far-right supporters – including members of the Football Lads Alliance – descended on the capital on Saturday afternoon for a counter-protest against an anti-racism march which is also taking place.

It is not currently known how many arrests, if any, have been made.

Supporters of the counter protest say have gathered to ensure historic statues, such as that of Winston Churchill, are not vandalised, as they were towards the end of a Black Lives Matter demonstration last weekend.

Home secretary Priti Patel has already taken to Twitter to condemn the violence.

“Thoroughly unacceptable thuggery,” she wrote. “Any perpetrators of violence or vandalism should expect to face the full force of the law. Violence towards our police officers will not be tolerated.”

Amid growing fears of a clash between the two different protest groups, meanwhile, police have ordered them to stick to different parts of the capital: those affiliated to the anti-racism protests must remain north of the police carrier erected on Whitehall, while right wing protesters have been ordered to remain south of the line.

Met Commander Bas Javid, said: “It is our job to protect those who are coming into central London today, and this tactic is one of the best available to us, which allows us to seize offensive weapons that have absolutely no place on our streets at any time of the day.

“Whilst we believe there is no imminent threat to the public, we want people to be aware of why they may be stopped by London’s officers, spoken to, and possibly searched as well.

“Officers will, as always, be professional and courteous and I really want the public to speak to police if they have any concerns about why they are being stopped and spoken to.”

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