NEWS

EDL And Anti-Fascist Marches In London Cause Clashes

Violence broke out in central London.

01/04/2017 15:19

Protesters have clashed in central London as far-right groups and anti-fascists held demonstrations.

A march and rally planned by Britain First and the English Defence League (EDL) - described as a “march against terrorism” - took place near a counter demonstration from Unite Against Fascism (UAF).

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Police officers in front of Britain First and EDL protestors on Embankment

Frantic scenes unfolded when ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson arrived and a high number of police officers moved to contain potential trouble.

Images appeared to show Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, being protected by police officers.

Crowds gathered in Trafalgar Square from around midday.

The Metropolitan Police imposed a number of conditions which included following a particular route, the Press Association reported.

But images showed protestors clashing with officers as the demonstrations turned ugly.

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UAF (Unite Against Fascism) demonstrators tussle with police officers in Trafalgar Square
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A UAF demonstrator is arrested on Whitehall

UAF protesters chanted “EDL go to hell” and hundreds of protesters spilled onto the surrounding roads.

Scotland Yard said on Friday that the information and intelligence available to the Met meant that they felt it necessary to impose the conditions to prevent the demonstrations from resulting in “serious disorder, serious damage to property, serious disruption to the life of the community, and to prevent the intimidation of local people trying to go about their business”.

Chief Superintendent Catherine Roper said: “The right to protest is a fundamental right in our democratic society, but this right must be balanced against the right of people to go about their day without fear of violence, disorder or disruption.

“Experience has shown us that when groups with conflicting views come together it can create tension and disorder, not just on the day itself but in the longer term.

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Former EDL Tommy Robinson was in attendance on Saturday

“What we have had to carefully consider is how to balance the right to protest with the negative impact on our communities and potential violence and disorder that may have resulted from these protests going ahead as they were suggested.

“If you want to protest on Saturday, we ask that you do so peacefully, no matter what your view. We will adopt a robust arrest policy on anyone who attends and is intent on violence and disorder, or is in breach of these conditions.”

On a Facebook event page, Britain First said “all patriots welcome to attend”, while the EDL said on an event page: “After the vile terrorist attack on parliment [sic] we will stand together and show we will not now, not ever bow down and fear terrorists and terrorism. join us to show our strength.”

The event comes just over a week after Westminster terrorist Khalid Masood’s murderous rampage left four people dead.

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