More than 100 people were arrested during protests in London yesterday, which was condemned by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as “racist thuggery”.
Six police officers suffered minor injuries in violent clashes as several hundred demonstrators, mostly white men, attended the protest organised by ‘far-right’ groups which claimed they wanted to protect statues such as Winston Churchill from vandalism.
But the demonstration turned violent after hundreds of self-proclaimed “statue defenders” took over areas near the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square and hurled missiles, smoke grenades, glass bottles and flares at police officers.
Many of those present were drinking, and there were a number of clashes with police in riot gear as crowds chanting “Tommy Robinson” and “England” while raising their arms surged towards lines of officers.
Outbursts of violence continued around the city after the 5pm deadline had passed, with the last few protesters removed from Parliament Square at around 6.45pm.
By 9pm, more than 100 people were arrested during the protest for offences including breach of the peace, violent disorder, assault on officers, possession of an offensive weapon, possession of class A drugs, and drunk and disorder.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson slammed the “racist thuggery” witnessed at the protests.
He wrote on Twitter: “Racist thuggery has no place on our streets. Anyone attacking the police will be met with full force of the law.
“These marches and protests have been subverted by violence and breach current guidelines.
“Racism has no part in the UK and we must work together to make that a reality.”