June 13, 2020
Hundreds of far-right protesters have gathered in central London to counter Black Lives Matter activists and “defend” statues and memorials. 
Hundreds Of Far-Right Protesters Gather In Central London
Video footage shared by journalists at the scene shows protesters clashing with mounted police in front of a boarded-up statue of Nelson Mandela and shouting at officers just metres from the Cenotaph. 
Anti-racism protests were due to gather in Hyde Park at 1pm today, but have been called off after Sadiq Khan warned Black Lives Matter organisers that far-right groups, including Britain First and the Democratic Football Lads Alliance were planning to hijack the rally. Confrontation of far right with mounted police in front of Mandela and Gandhi statues a few minutes ago. Imagine the scene if they were not boarded up. pic.twitter.com/dXUofcoVxJ— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) June 13, 2020The Metropolitan Police have imposed a number of conditions on the protests, including telling attendees that they must disperse by 5pm on Saturday.
At around 1pm on police on horseback were seen pushing demonstrators back from the other end of Parliament Square, near the boarded-up statues of Nelson Mandela and Gandhi.
Several bottles, including a large vodka bottle, and cans were thrown at the officers, with a device emitting dark smoke into the crowd. Some of the demonstrators were also seen blocking others in their group from the police horses.Whitehall is now blocked off by police. This happened moments ago: pic.twitter.com/RDaIAbNUUB— Dominic Casciani (@BBCDomC) June 13, 2020Other protesters gathered near the Cenotaph, and could be heard chanting Lee Rigby’s name – despite the murdered soldier’s family urging people not to use his name or image to counter Black Lives Matter protests. 
A demonstrator from South London, who gave her name as Victoria, was in the square with a banner reading “All lives matter”.Statue defenders sing God Save the Queen in front of the Cenotaph. pic.twitter.com/O7SySDewu8— Oli Dugmore (@OliDugmore) June 13, 2020Discussing controversial statues, she told PA: “It’s the past. You’ve just gotta learn to live with it, they’ve done what they’ve done but it’s still in the records they did good things.
“I’ve got things I don’t want to remember, but I wouldn’t go smashing things up because of it.”“Winston Churchill, he’s one of our own.” pic.twitter.com/CwXHcLgwG6— Oli Dugmore (@OliDugmore) June 13, 2020Daisy, a 26-year-old from Pimlico, passed demonstrators in Parliament Square as she went for a run at around 10.30 on Saturday morning and claimed many were already drinking alcohol.
“They were all drinking beers and there was already loads of cans lying round on the floor treating it like it was some sort of football away-day,” she told PA.
“It was a really tense and hostile atmosphere. I didn’t stay too long… it was really uncomfortable.”Violence erupts in Parliament Square as people gathered erupt and charge at police and a cyclist, throwing bottles and swearing, but no fighting. pic.twitter.com/uu2HZex9Ll— Nick McAvaney (@nick_mcavaney) June 13, 2020As the scene became more hostile, home secretary Priti Patel tweeted: “[Thoroughly] unacceptable thuggery.
“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.
“Coronavirus remains a threat to us all. Go home to stop the spread of this virus & save lives.”On Parliament St, in front of the police cordon 100m from the Cenotaph pic.twitter.com/Rd72kXofnh— Dan Sabbagh (@dansabbagh) June 13, 2020Counter-protestors are also making their presence felt in other parts of the country. 
Several dozen people, many of them clad in motorcycle gear, met in front of the Cenotaph in Bristol on Saturday morning just metres away from where slaver Edward Colston’s statue stood before it was torn down during a Black Lives Matter rally on Sunday. An ‘All Lives Matter’ protest is currently taking place around the Cenotaph. pic.twitter.com/fLNXsUHQ3y— Martin Booth (@beardedjourno) June 13, 2020They were later joined by several hundred demonstrators who were filmed pulling up placards at the base of the Colston plinth and stuffing them into a bin bag. Unrest in the centre of Bristol with 300-400 people gathered. Police beginning to move into the crowds. Video from @TraceyJ_Miller. More @bbcpointswest at 17.45. pic.twitter.com/xg5DSFwz3b— Andrew Plant (@BeebJournalist) June 13, 2020Several hundred people have gathered outside City Hall in Belfast in Northern Ireland to protect war memorials.
The Northern Ireland Cenotaph Protection Group (NICPG) issued a statement saying its aim is to protect war memorials amid attacks on statues of historical figures across the UK in recent days.
“We are not a counter protest, we do not have a political message. For those of us who served we served beside men and Women of all cultural backgrounds, and those veterans that have been in combat know, above all else, regardless of what colour you are, we all bleed red,” it said.
Several demonstrators wore British MILITARY uniforms while Union flags and Ulster flags were draped over the railings of City Hall.
While most demonstrators wore masks there was a lack of social distancing.
Officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland attended the demonstration.
 Hundreds of people also flocked to George Square in Glasgow to “protect” a war memorial.
In an event organised by a group called the Loyalist Defence League (LDL), people congregated to stop vandalism to the Glasgow Cenotaph, erected to commemorate the lives of those who died in the First World War.
The group was penned in on the east side of the square, with a similar sized area reserved for counter-protesters which remained empty.Related... Police Warn London Protesters To Be Off The Streets By 5pm 'Black British History Is Barely Covered': How The Curriculum Could Be Decolonised Exclusive: Science Museum Criticised By Staff Over Lack Of Response To Black Lives Matter Movement
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