More than 170 people believed to be EDL supporters have been arrested in Westminster to prevent a "breach of peace" on remembrance day, the metropolitan police said on Friday.
Following trouble outside the Red Lion pub in Westminster, police said 179 had been arrested: "A large group of people have been arrested outside the Red Lion public house in Parliament Street, SW1, in orer to prevent a breach of peace."
According to reports the EDL protesters had been planning to target the Occupy London camp outside St Paul's Cathedral.
The far-right group had planned to go to the Cenotaph to remember the war dead, releasing a statement saying they hoped to be "peaceful" and alcohol should not be drunk until "after the day’s proceedings have finished".
"To those of you who will still be attending London in the morning to pay your respects, please make your way to Westminster and not Kensington as originally planned. We wish to remind you to conduct yourselves accordingly by dressing smartly (suit and tie if possible) and acting respectfully and responsibly. This is not an EDL march and EDL colours/hoodies and banners should not be bought along. Above all wear your poppy with pride!"
The EDL claimed the subsequent arrests were "illegal". EDL founder Stephen Lennon, who is also known as Tommy Robinson, denied that the Occupy London camp was the target.
"The police have organised this," he said, according to the Press Association. "There's been no violence, no trouble and no-one was wearing defence league clothing. This was just people coming down for the remembrance service and then going to the pub afterwards.
"If those people had tried to make their way to St Paul's or to an Islamic area then we could understand their reason for the arrests but these people didn't do anything today."
The arrests come after heightened tension around this year's Armistice Day. Protest group Muslims Against Crusades were banned after making the headlines last year burning poppies and David Cameron and Prince William intervened in a row with FIFA to allow England players to wear poppies on their armbands during Saturday's game against Spain.
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