A 28-year-old has been charged with outraging public decency after pictures emerged from a far-right protest in London of a man urinating next to a memorial dedicated to PC Keith Palmer.
Andrew Banks, from Stansted, was arrested on Saturday evening after handing himself in at a police station in Essex.
The picture, shared widely on social media on Saturday, has been condemned by MP Tobias Ellwood, who gave first aid to PC Palmer as he lay dying after being stabbed to death in the grounds of Parliament by Khalid Masood in 2017.
Home secretary Priti Patel said: “We have seen some shameful scenes today [Saturday], including the desecration of PC Keith Palmer’s memorial in Parliament, in Westminster Square, and quite frankly that is shameful, that is absolutely appalling and shameful.”
Met Police Commander Bas Javid, brother of former home secretary Sajid, described it as “disgusting and abhorrent”.
More than 100 people were arrested on Saturday during the protests for offences including breach of the peace, violent disorder, assault on officers, possession of an offensive weapon, possession of class A drugs, and drunk and disorder.
Members of Saturday’s far-right demonstration, which was attended by several hundred mostly white men, claimed to be guarding the statue of Churchill as well as the cenotaph.
However, the event turned violent after hundreds of self-proclaimed “statue defenders” took over areas near the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square and hurled missiles, smoke grenades, glass bottles and flares at police officers.
A total of 113 people were arrested or offences including violent disorder, assault on officers and possession of an offensive weapon. The protest was condemned by Boris Johnson as “racist thuggery” and described as “mindless hooliganism” by police.
The PM has previously been urged to show leadership in dealing with racism in the UK, as multiple tweets he had previously sent about Churchill’s statue were branded a “deflection” by shadow justice secretary David Lammy.
Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said he was “extremely disturbed” by the “completely unacceptable” scenes of violence on the streets on Saturday.
On Sunday morning, he said Johnson needs to set out “concrete steps” to address “the inequality and racism that still sadly exists in our country”.