/UK news live: BLM counter-protesters clash with police as thousands gather in London

UK news live: BLM counter-protesters clash with police as thousands gather in London

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In Parliament Square, several thousand mainly white protesters milled around, many of them drinking. Many police present were equipped with riot gear, but they carried their helmets rather than wearing them.

The atmosphere was rowdy, with rumours of the arrival of “Anteefa” met with a surge towards the Victoria Street corner of the square and a face-off with police.

Protesters hurled cans and a smoke canister at mounted police, who were initially pushed back but then advanced again to regain their previous positions. The incident passed without serious violence erupting, but police began strengthening their positions around the square.

Protesters throw bottles and cans at mounted police in Parliament Square – video

One protester told the Guardian that Antifa counter-protesters had made appearances a couple of times already at the demonstration. Protesters could be overheard asking each other: “where are Antifa?” and speculating over whether antifascist counter-protesters would arrive.

Earlier, on Parliament Street, at the opposite corner of the square, hundreds standing at a police line chanted “En-ger-land” and sang God Save the Queen. They broke into applause when a parade of veterans arrived, passing behind the police line carrying a flag with regimental colours.

In the square, several statues, including those of Winston Churchill and Gandhi, had been boarded off. On the statue of Churchill, someone had stuck up a poster with a silhouette of a second world war soldier and a message that read: “Do not destroy our history. Keep our history and learn from it so the same mistakes don’t happen again.”

According to Hope Not Hate, a press photographer suffered a broken nose in a confrontation with some protesters. Video on the antiracist group’s Twitter feed showed him being led away by police. The Guardian chose not to engage directly with protesters and ask for interviews.

Oli Dugmore

The crowd is very hostile to any media and reporters. This photographer is just one example. Looks like a broken nose. pic.twitter.com/kgoXDYaLx4

June 13, 2020

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At Hyde Park on Saturday morning it looked as if most Black Lives Matter protesters had heeded calls to stay away from central London, with just a few antifascists present and two stalls run by the Socialist party selling news papers.

The London Antifascist Assembly (LARAF), a group that has rallied to oppose nearly all rightwing mobilisations in London in recent years, became the latest group to call off its protest late on Friday night, and encouraged its supporters to attend local BLM protests instead.

London Anti-Fascist Assembly

***TOMORROW’S (SAT) PROTEST IS OFF*** We encourage you all to go to the ongoing BLM protests, particularly in local neighbourhoods. Developments over the last few days have meant that we will not be pursuing the previous plan. Support your local demo. Solidarity to our comrades! https://t.co/FskHe7qGtx

June 12, 2020

The decision to call off the rally came after a crackdown by the Metropolitan police on would-be protesters. Officers visited some people at their homes by police, the Guardian was told. Three protesters affiliated with green anarchist groups were arrested at Friday’s BLM rally in Hyde Park and police also raided a squatted anarchist social centre in Islington on Friday night, according to the anarchist newspaper Freedom.

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Original Source