Six cops hurt in violent protests as Boris Johnson slams 'thuggery' across UK

RACE protests erupted into violence across the UK yesterday.

At least 43 people were arrested and six cops in London were taken to hospital after sickening clashes.

Boris Johnson said: “Racist thuggery has no place on our streets.” Priti Patel branded it “shameful”.

Trouble flared in the capital for the second weekend running as cops struggled to separate rival groups.

Officers fought to keep apart protesters who claimed they were guarding The Cenotaph and a statue of Winston Churchill from attack and Black Lives Matter anti-racism demonstrators.

Smoke bombs and missiles were thrown towards lines of police with bloody clashes breaking out in numerous locations.

Officers drew batons to try to beat back rival groups squaring up to each other at spots including Trafalgar Square, Whitehall and Hyde Park.

Glass bottles, cans and metal crowd control barriers were hurled at a line of helmeted officers outside Downing Street.

Other marches and protests took place across Britain — some peaceful, but others marred by similar stand-offs and trouble. At least 43 people were arrested.

Home Secretary Priti Patel, condemned the violence as “thoroughly unacceptable thuggery”.

One despicable lout was seen urinating by the memorial to murdered PC Keith Palmer outside the ­Palace of Westminster.

Ms Patel said the fallen officer was “a man that gave his life to protect people. I just think that is utterly shameful”.

Thugs threw punches as far-right groups — some making Nazi-salutes — tried to hijack a demo over the death of George Floyd in the US.

The beer-swilling yobs ignored requests to stay home due to coronavirus fears.

Initial reports said 15 people had been injured of which six — all of them police officers — needed hospital treatment.

By 5pm, the Met said there had been five arrests for offences including assault on police, violent disorder, having an offensive weapon, being drunk and disorderly and having Class A drugs.


By Johnson Beharry, hero who won Victoria Cross

THE violence of the past two weekends left me very sad. I support Black Lives Matter and stand with them against racism and what happened to George Floyd.

No one should die like that.

But protesters have to be peaceful to achieve their goals. The scenes of the past two weekends, with vandals trying to burn the British flag at the Cenotaph and defacing the statue of Winston Churchill, made me sick.

Equally, the small number claiming to defend the monuments, as we saw yesterday, saw this as an opportunity to jump on the bandwagon and cause violence, which is awful.

I strongly feel that racism in any form has to stop. I’ve even experienced it myself in my civilian life.

But it is one thing to want to take down the statue of a slave trader. It is quite another to attack a statue of Churchill, who fought for this country’s freedom, and our memorial to those who sacrificed their lives for that freedom.

Even when I’m out of uniform, if I pass the Cenotaph I salute it. I’m proud to be British and proud to have the VC. I fought for this country and I’m still in the British Army.

If people want to protest it’s a good cause and it’s their right — but do it peacefully or the point gets lost.

Boris Johnson said last night: “Racist thuggery has no place on our streets. Anyone attacking the police will be met with full force of the law.”

“These marches and protests have been subverted by violence and breach current guidelines.”

Police imposed conditions on the routes of the marches. All protesters had to be off the streets by 5pm as ugly clashes threatened to get out of control.

A group, describing themselves as the Football Alliance or Democratic Football Lads, clutched signs reading “All Lives Matter” and chanted “Winston Churchill, he’s one of our own”

RAF vet Dick Barton, 57, told The Sun: “I came down because I’d complained about the way police had dealt with the other protests and the fact they were ignoring coronavirus measures.

“I felt I needed to protect our monuments. It went well until a few idiots started throwing bottles. I had to take two people to hospital. One guy was bottled by a protester on the same side.”

Black Lives Matter activist Imarn Ayton, 29, who wants Churchill’s statue removed, urged protesters to avoid a “race war”.

She said: “I believe these statues should be moved to a museum, I think it’s a ‘win win’ for everyone. It no longer offends the black nation, but we get to keep our history and keep those that would like to see that.”

Protests in Newcastle and Bristol also saw trouble break out.

Other demos were held in Brighton, Liverpool, Reading, Croydon and Chelmsford.

Let's focus on changing the world we live in today and a little less on historical injustice

By Salma Shah, political strategist and former special adviser

Symbols are important. They help unify people with common cause and shared values. Who doesn’t feel a sense of pride when they see an NHS rainbow, or the Union Jack at the Olympics?

But some symbols also divide – and when the statue of slaver Edward Colston was torn down and deposited in a watery grave last weekend, it began a wave of similar topplings and a worldwide debate about exactly who should be set in stone.

While we should rightly question who gets honoured and remembered in our public spaces, not everything is fair game in this debate.

The boarding up of the Cenotaph by Sadiq Khan is shameful.

When I walk down Whitehall and see the tribute to the ‘Glorious Dead’ I think of people from all nations who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom. It sits proudly in the heart of Westminster to unify, as a symbol of the loss we all suffered, collectively – black, white and Asian alike.

For those who think it is a legitimate target, or a celebration of outdated values, a history lesson is in order.

Worse still, if everyone’s talking about statues and symbols, we’re not talking about what matters: Black Lives.

Colston by any measure was a monster and we may all feel a bit better because of his impromptu dip. But what now? Will the statue’s removal deliver a miraculous improvement in the life chances of Black Britons? Unlikely.

Symbols are important but not more than substance. We should focus a little less on challenging historical injustice, and a little more on changing the world we live in today.

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