LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned “racist thuggery” after far-right protesters clashed in London on Saturday with anti-racist demonstrators and police trying to keep the two sides apart.
Fights broke out between groups outside Waterloo station, with fireworks thrown before police cordoned off areas. On a nearby bridge, stones were lobbed at police. Sporadic skirmishes continued in parts of the city centre.
“Racist thuggery has no place on our streets,” Johnson said on Twitter. “Anyone attacking our police will be met with the full force of the law.”
Earlier in the day, small bands of protesters jostled and tossed bottles and cans in Trafalgar Square. Far-right groups shouted racial slurs at the anti-racism protesters, and some tried to use metal crash barriers to break through police lines.
The Metropolitan Police said they arrested more than 100 people for offences including violent disorder and assault on police, and that six officers had suffered minor injuries. The ambulance service said it had treated 15 people.
“It is clear that far-right groups are causing violence and disorder in central London, I urge people to stay away,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said on Twitter.
In a brief respite to the animosity after the clashes near Waterloo, pictures showed a man identified by the crowd as a far-right protester being carried to safety by a Black Lives Matter protester.
The police, who had already imposed a restriction calling for all demonstrations to end by 5 p.m., urged people to disperse.
Police also said they would investigate after images on social media appeared to show a man urinating on PC Keith Palmer’s memorial. Palmer, a police officer, was stabbed to death in an attack outside Parliament in 2017.
There have been demonstrations around the world against racism and police abuses since the death of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. In British cities tens of thousands of people have marched peacefully during previous days of protest.
In London the demonstrators numbered fewer on Saturday than in recent days, after announcements by far-right groups that they would converge on the city centre prompted anti-racism activists to cancel a planned march and instead call for scattered protests.
Statues of historical figures including Winston Churchill were boarded up to prevent them from becoming flashpoints or being defaced by protesters who say such monuments celebrate racists.
‘MY CULTURE UNDER ATTACK’
In and around Parliament Square, hundreds of people wearing football shirts, describing themselves as patriots and chanting “England, England” gathered alongside military veterans to guard the Cenotaph war memorial.
The far-right groups said they wanted to defend British culture, in particular historical monuments, after the toppling of the statue of a 17th century slave trader in the port city of Bristol during an anti-racism protest last weekend sparked calls for others to come down.
“Winston Churchill, he’s one of our own,” they also chanted, near the statue of the World War Two leader, which last weekend was sprayed with graffiti reading: “Churchill was a racist”.
“My culture is under attack. This is my culture and my English history: why should Churchill be boarded up? Why is the Cenotaph attacked? It is not right,” said David Allen, one of the protesters.
While Churchill is admired by many for his role in defeating Nazi Germany, some in the anti-racism movement have called for more scrutiny of his overall legacy, noting he expressed racist and anti-Semitic views.
On Friday Johnson called it “absurd and shameful” that the Churchill statue was at risk of attack. “Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero,” he said.
Protests took place in other countries on Saturday, including in several Australian cities, Taipei, Zurich and Paris.
KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 25 The Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs has prepared the draft of two ordinances proposing to increase jail term for acid attackers to 20 years and to regulate the sale and distribution of acid. Under the existing law, perpetrators of acid attack face a m Read More...
RAJBIRAJ, SEPTEMBER 25 A few days of incessant rainfall has inundated hundreds of houses in Saptari district. Water from swollen Khado, Balan, Triyuga, Jita and Mahuli streams has gushed into houses in district headquarters Rajbiraj and many other rural areas. In Wards No 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 Read More...
BEIJING, SEPTEMBER 25 Chinese authorities have demolished thousands of mosques in Xinjiang, an Australian think tank said today, in the latest report of widespread human rights abuses in the restive region. Rights groups say more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking Read More...
CHITWAN, SEPTEMBER 25 Even as the district is under the grip of COVID-19 infection, cases of scrub typhus and dengue have also been reported in Chiwan of late. As many as 69 scrub typhus patients and 24 dengue patients have been detected in the district in the past two months. According to Read More...
KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 25 The number of health workers being infected with coronavirus is on rise. According to the Ministry of Health and Population, as many as 600 health workers across the country have tested positive of the respiratory contagion till September 23. Health workers infected wit Read More...
KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 25 The National Human Rights Commission today drew its attention to the deteriorating health of Dr Govinda KC, who has been on his 19th fast-unto-death since September 14. The senior orthopaedic surgeon had launched his hunger strike in Chandannath Municipality-6, of J Read More...
DAMAULI: Two youths have staged a fast-unto-death expressing solidarity with Dr Govinda KC in Tanahun’s Damauli on Friday. Sagar Ghimire, 25, and Binod Sapkota, 24, have launched the strike. Ghimire said they had started a hunger strike to pressurise the government to address all demands of Dr Read More...
KATHMANDU, SEPTEMBER 25 Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli addressed, through a pre-recorded video, a high-level side event titled ‘Poverty at a Crossroad: Using Leadership and the Multidimensional Poverty Index to Build Back Better’, organised on the margins of the 75th Session of United Nations G Read More...