Police clash with far-right demonstrators during protest to ‘guard’ statues in London

Police are confronted by protesters in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest, Saturday June 13, 2020.  The death of George Floyd in the United States, has prompted demonstrations by far-right groups as well as the Black Lives Matter movement and provoked a wider debate regarding many historical figures and Britain's colonial past. (Jonathan Brady/PA via AP)

Far-right protestors have clashed with police after hundreds of people gathered to "guard" statues in central London.

Footage showed demonstrators throwing bottles at riot officers in Whitehall on Saturday.

In another clash near Parliament Square protesters appeared to throw bottles and smoke bombs at officers.

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Police clash with far-right demonstrators in London
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Police clash with far-right demonstrators in London
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: An activist argues with a police officer on Parliament Street on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade (Photo by Kate Green/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Protesters from the Democratic Football Lads Alliance clash with people taking part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Parliament Square, London.
Protesters from the Democratic Football Lads Alliance clash with people taking part in a Black Lives Matter protest in Parliament Square, London.
Police are confronted by protesters in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Police are confronted by protesters in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Police escort a photographer with blood on their face outside the Houses of Parliament in London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Police escort a photographer with blood on their face outside the Houses of Parliament in London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.
Members of far-right Football Lads Alliance hold a banner during a counter protest in Parliament Square, central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Members of far-right Football Lads Alliance hold a British flag in front of a protective covering surrounding the statue of former British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A member of a far-right group that climbed on a pole chants slogans along Whitehall, in central London, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: Activists from far-right linked groups chant as they face police officers in Trafalgar Square on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JUNE 13: Activists from far-right linked groups face police officers in Trafalgar Square on June 13, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. Following a social media post by the far-right activist known as Tommy Robinson, members of far-right linked groups have gathered around statues in London. Several statues in the UK have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters for their links to racism and the slave trade. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A masked far-right protester walks as British police officers in riot gear escort him and others away in central London, as groups gather to counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A far-right protester gestures towards British police officers in riot gear at Trafalgar Square in central London, as groups gather to counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Far-right protesters gesture as they confront British police officers at Trafalgar Square in central London, during a counter-protest against a Black Lives Matter demonstration, Saturday, June 13, 2020. British police have imposed strict restrictions on groups planning to protest in London Saturday in a bid to avoid violent clashes between protesters from the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as far-right groups.(AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
A protester is detained by police near Westminster Abbey in London.
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The crowd claimed to be in the capital to protect monuments including former prime minister Winston Churchill's statue, which was vandalised last week during an anti-racism demonstration.

The protest on Saturday was attended by the leader of the far-right group Britain First Paul Golding.

He said: "Anyone who comes along today to try and vandalise them (monuments) will probably be dealt with by all of these Englishmen that turned up, and they're fed up as well."

LBC reporter Matthew Thompson claimed the demonstrators had turned on journalists as well.

He tweeted: "And you can see as a protestor smacks my phone out of my hand as I try to film the scuffles."

There were also claims some of the protesters performed a Nazi salute near the Churchill statue (in the video above).

Former Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid added on Twitter: "While doing the nazi salute to the Churchill statue!?"

Police are confronted by protesters in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London, during a protest by the Democratic Football Lads Alliance against a Black Lives Matter protest.

Black Lives Matter had originally been planning a demonstration but decided to cancel the event on Friday to avoid clashes with far-right groups.

The Churchill statue and a memorial to slave trader Edward Colston were vandalised during anti-racism protests last weekend, which prompted far-right groups to organise their own counter-demonstration.

Police have told those planning on joining demonstrations on Saturday they must be off the streets by 5pm.

In an attempt to avoid a repeat of last week's violent clashes with police, anti-racism protesters have been told they must stick to the planned route that will run from Hyde Park to Whitehall.

The force fear the protests – that were sparked by the death of George Floyd in the US last month – could be hijacked by counter-demonstrations by far-right groups.

Met Police have issued a Section-60 order for the protests in the capital, which increases their stop and search powers.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said: "We have learnt that some people are coming into London to cause harm and are likely to bring weapons with them."

Protesters also flocked to George Square in Glasgow to "protect" a war memorial.

In an event organised by a group called the Loyalist Defence League (LDL), people congregated to stop vandalism to the Glasgow Cenotaph, erected to commemorate the lives of those who died in the First World War.

The group was penned in on the east side of the square, with a similar-sized area reserved for counter-protesters which remained empty.

Several hundred people have gathered outside City Hall in Belfast to apparently do the same.

The Northern Ireland Cenotaph Protection Group (NICPG) issued a statement saying its aim is to protect war memorials amid attacks on statues of historical figures across the UK in recent days.

The London mayor earlier defended his decision to board up the Churchill monument ahead of the marches.

Khan said the decision to protect the statue in Parliament Square – along with the Cenotaph and monuments to Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi – was a "wise" precaution.

Following the toppling last weekend of the statue of Colston in Bristol, he said there were fears the London statues could become a "flashpoint for violence" involving extreme far-right protesters.

- This article originally appeared on Yahoo.

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