On Saturday, clashes erupted in London between far-right protesters, holding a counter-demonstration against anti-racism activists and officers. More than 100 people were arrested by the London police. Thousands of people refused to obey the coronavirus restrictions to assemble in and around Parliament Square, in the centre of the capital.
The Metropolitan Police Service said that “major” policing operations are needed and that they have encountered “pockets of violence directed towards our officers”. The agitators were captured throwing punches, bottles and smoke bombs at the police officers with rival protesters. More than 100 people were arrested for allegedly carrying offensive weapons, violent disorder and assault on officers. The footage of the video was shared widely on social media.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “racist thuggery has no place on our streets” and that “anybody attacking the police would be met with full force of the law”.
“Racism has no part in the UK and we must work together to make that a reality,” he added. On Saturday, the protesters of the Black Lives Matter planned to protest but they made it on Friday to avoid clashes with the far-right counter-demonstration.
Hope Not Hate, the Anti-racism group had already warned before Saturday that hooligan gangs may attend Saturday’s counter-protest. Hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists earlier did a marching which ended near Trafalgar Square where the counter protesters gathered and amid a heavy police presence.
Last month, on May 25, the death of a 46-year-old black man George Floyd in the US created outrage all over the nation. He was killed in Minneapolis, Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit bill. The fire of protest also spread in London where most of the protesters have been peacefully protesting.
Suddenly the protest turned violent while crowds in Bristol, southwest England, toppled a statue to a 17th-century slave trader Edward Colston and threw it into the harbour. The agitators also defaced a memorial of World War II leader Winston Churchill, with the word “racist”. Churchill’s grandson, Nicholas Soames has condemned the group of people calling them an “extremely explosive group of people.”