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Over 100 arrested after violent disorder at far-right linked UK protest

A protest by the Black Lives Matter group planned for Saturday had been switched to Friday to avoid clashes with the far-right counter-demonstration.

SNS | New Delhi |

UK police has arrested more than 100 people on Saturday after far-right protesters holding a counter-demonstration against anti-racism activists clashed with officers.

Thousands of people defied the coronavirus restrictions to assemble in and around Parliament Square, in the centre of the capital.

The Metropolitan Police Service said that required “major” policing operation.

Saturday’s protests took place following a series of anti-racism demonstrations across Britain, sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American in the US city of Minneapolis.

The Met they had arrested more than 100 peopled by 2000 GMT for violent disorder, assault on officers and possession of an offensive weapon. Six officers suffered minor injuries.

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”.

Taking to Twitter, PM Johnson said, “Racism has no part in the UK and we must work together to make that a reality.”

A protest by the Black Lives Matter group planned for Saturday had been switched to Friday to avoid clashes with the far-right counter-demonstration.

On Friday, the Prime Minister had warned that the UK anti-racism protests had been “hijacked by extremists” who were attacking national monuments in an effort to “censor our past”.

Police have boarded up prominent statues around London ahead of a new wave of demonstrations and rallies this weekend.

The arrests came after around 200 protesters breached the 5 pm curfew with most congregating around the statue of war-time leader Winston Churchill in Parliament Square.

Earlier, a march by several hundred Black Lives Matter activists through the capital went ahead, ending in Trafalgar Square near where the counter protesters gathered and amid a heavy police presence.

Police have also launched an investigation after a photo posted on social media appeared to show a man urinating on a memorial to Keith Palmer, the police officer killed in the 2017 terror attack outside parliament.

The Met would “gather all the evidence available to us and take appropriate action,” said Javid.

London’s mayor Sadiq Khan praised the force for doing a “fantastic job to control the situation.

Home Secretary Priti Patel also condemned the violence as “appalling and shameful” the “desecration” of a memorial to murdered Keith Palmer during the far-right protest in Westminster.

She said a “small minority” had behaved with “extreme thuggery”.

Britain has seen a wave of protests prompted by last month’s death during a US police arrest of George Floyd, an unarmed African-American, which triggered outrage around the world.

Most of them have been peaceful, but demonstrations in London last weekend latterly 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.

Mayor took to Twitter and said, “Millions of Londoners will have been disgusted by the shameful scenes of violence, desecration and racism displayed by the right-wing extremists who gathered in our city today.

“In the face of attacks and abuse, our police did a fantastic job to control the situation. Thank you”, mayor added.

Earlier, protesters blame Churchill for policies that led to the death of millions during famine in the Indian state of Bengal in 1943.

(With inputs from agency)