Nationalist Protesters Chanting 'England' Clash With Police In London
Thousands have gathered in the capital despite police warnings, congregating around the likes of the Cenotaph war memorial in Whitehall and the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, which was boarded up earlier this week.
Footage shows crowds throwing punches and drinks at officers, who are using batons to keep them at bay. Additional footage appears to show demonstrators performing Nazi salutes.
A 5pm curfew is in place in a bid to curtail violence and a Section 60 order was imposed from 11am today (Saturday 13 June) until 2am on Sunday, which gives offers enhanced powers to stop and search individuals.
Explaining why the order had been put in place, Met Police Commander Bas Javid said: "The safety of protesters, officers and the public this weekend is of the upmost importance and it is for that exact reason why we have consulted with colleagues and partners and decided it is proportionate to put in place a Section 60.
"It is our job to protect those who are coming into central London today, and this tactic is one of the best available to us that allows us to seize offensive weapons that have absolutely no place on our streets at any time of the day."
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Home Secretary Priti Patel has also condemned the 'thoroughly unacceptable thuggery'.
She said: "Any perpetrators of violence or vandalism should expect to face the full force of the law. Violence towards our police officers will not be tolerated. Coronavirus remains a threat to us all. Go home to stop the spread of this virus & save lives."
Paul Golding, leader of the far-right group Britain First, claimed demonstrators had turned out to 'guard our monuments', after numerous statues and monuments were vandalised during Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests last weekend.
However, a BLM protest planned for today was cancelled earlier this week, with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also encouraging people to stay at home.
He said: "I'm extremely concerned that further protests in central London not only risk spreading Covid-19, but could lead to disorder, vandalism, and violence. Extreme far-right groups who advocate hatred and division are planning counter-protests, which means that the risk of disorder is high.
"Be in no doubt these counter-protests are there to provoke violence, and their only goal is to distract and hijack this important issue. Staying home and ignoring them is the best response this weekend."
Featured Image Credit: PA