28-year-old charged after man seen apparently urinating next to Pc Palmer memorial
A 28-year-old has been charged after a man was photographed apparently urinating next to the memorial dedicated to Pc Keith Palmer, the officer who was stabbed to death in the 2017 terror attack in Westminster.
On Sunday evening, Scotland Yard said Andrew Banks, from Stansted, Essex, had been charged with outraging public decency and remains in custody.
The image of a man was widely shared on social media on Saturday as violent clashes between far-right protesters and police took place in central London.
The man in the photo was widely condemned by politicians including 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.
Saturday’s far-right demonstration took place after thousands of anti-racist protesters marched in multiple events sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of white police officers in the US last month.
Mr Floyd’s death has prompted weeks of discussion and outrage about racism and colonialism in the UK.
On Sunday, Boris Johnson announced plans for a cross-government commission to examine “all aspects” of racial inequality in Britain in the wake of two weeks of Black Lives Matter protests.
Writing in The Daily Telegraph, the Prime Minister acknowledged that the country had much more to do to deal with the issue.
He said the commission on race and ethnic disparities would look at “all aspects of inequality – in employment, in health outcomes, in academic and all other walks of life”.
Mr Johnson told broadcasters: “What I really want to do as Prime Minister is change the narrative so we stop the sense of victimisation and discrimination.
“We stamp out racism and we start to have a real expectation of success. That’s where I want to get to but it won’t be easy.”
The Prime Minister’s announcement comes after a statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament Square was boarded up due to vandalism during an anti-racist protest.
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 and the protest was condemned by Boris Johnson as “racist thuggery” and described as “mindless hooliganism” by police.
The Prime Minister 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 Mr Johnson needs to set out “concrete steps” to address “the inequality and racism that still sadly exists in our country”.