AT least five people have been arrested as clashes between protesters and police in London continue to escalate.
Scotland Yard said that as of 5pm – the time police had told everyone to leave the streets of London today – five arrests had already been made with more extremely likely.
The offences included violent disorder, assault on a police officer, possession of an offensive weapon, being drunk and disorderly and possession of class A drugs.
Demonstrators included anti-racist groups and far-right activists who descended on Parliament Square, pelting mounted police with bottles, cans and a smoke canister.
As riot police formed lines to contain protesters in the square, they came under attack from a hail of bottles.
Several thousand right-wing activists had received a ‘call to arms’ via social media in response to BLM protests in the capital last weekend which resulted in some of London’s monuments being vandalised.
People were called to “protect the monuments” after witness graffiti being daubed on the statue of Churchill in Parliament Square and the Cenotaph among others.
By 11am several thousands of demonstrators – mainly white – had gathered in central London. Many of them were drinking and there were chants of “Eng-ger-land” reminiscent of football hooliganism.
Statues had been boarded-up yesterday ahead of the protests although many have now been graffitied also.
On the Queen’s birthday, it was particularly shocking to see “F**k the Queen” in spray paint on one of the boarded-up statues.
Speaking before the clashes, Paul Golding, leader of right-wing group Britain First commented: “I am extremely fed up with the way that the authorities have allowed two consecutive weekends of vandalism against our national monuments.”
He added a stark warning to disorderly BLM protesters that “anyone who comes along today to try and vandalise them will probably be dealt with by all of these Englishmen that turned up and they’re fed up as well.”
At this time, police sirens can still be heard in central London and protestors from both right-wing groups and the BLM movement are still in the area.