Anti-racist campaigners have mentioned their protest rally was greater than twice as standard as a pro-Brexit demonstration led by Ukip and the far-right figurehead Tommy Robinson on opposing marches by means of central London on Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds of individuals massed outdoors BBC headquarters at Portland Place underneath the banner “No to Tommy Robinson; no to Fortress Britain” earlier than marching by means of central London, by way of Trafalgar Sq. to the north finish of Whitehall.
They’d gathered to oppose a “Brexit betrayal” march led by Robinson – actual title Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – and Ukip, in response to the deal brokered by Theresa Could with the European fee. It started at Park Lane and made its strategy to the south finish of Whitehall by way of Parliament Sq..
The Labour grassroots group Momentum, one of many organisers of the Cease Tommy demonstration, claimed it had introduced 15,000 on to the streets, in contrast with about 3,000 who attended Robinson’s protest. Different sources inside the anti-racist motion mentioned they counted their protest at nearer to eight,000.
There have been verbal confrontations between anti-racist protesters and hecklers in Trafalgar Sq., prompting police to maneuver in and extra tightly handle the gang.
One man shouted “leftwing scum, off our streets”, at protesters making their approach into Whitehall. He was confronted by one other man who shouted in his face: “We’re black, white, Asian and we’re Jewish. Fuck off!”
On Haymarket, a bunch of Brexit rally supporters needed to be moved by police after they tried to dam the trail of the anti-racist demonstration.
Anti-racist protesters arrived at Whitehall to a big sound system on a curtain-side lorry enjoying hip-hop music, behind which a police cordon stretched throughout the road to maintain the opposing demonstrations aside. The Metropolitan police reported three arrests, together with one for assault, one for possession of an offensive weapon and one for a public order offence, all on the anti-racist facet.
The Met had imposed strict circumstances on timings and routes of each demonstrations. Tons of of officers in riot gear and models of mounted police have been deployed to maintain order.
Laura Parker, nationwide coordinator for Momentum, mentioned: “It’s actually necessary that everybody from Labour, from the broader Labour motion, from the commerce union motion comes out and makes it clear that we’ll not have fascists on the streets of Britain in 2018.
“We have now seen a terrifying rise of the best throughout Europe, in Hungary, in Poland. We have now received Trump in America, Bolsonaro in Brazil and Tommy Robinson wandering round London. It has simply received to be stopped.”
Weyman Bennett, co-convener of Stand As much as Racism, mentioned he felt it was necessary for anti-racists to attraction to each stay and Brexit supporters, relatively than tar those that wish to depart the EU with the comb of racism. He mentioned: “The primary hazard is that for the primary time we’ve seen Ukip, the BNP and the EDL coming collectively as a mainstream organisation, linking collectively electoral and avenue politics, which has not occurred for a few years. It’s a racist felony conspiracy in opposition to black individuals on this nation. An pressing process is now to do that in each city.”
On the opposite facet of the police cordon on Whitehall, a number of thousand pro-Brexit supporters rallied beneath union flags, purple Ukip flags and the lambda insignia of radical proper group Technology Identification, listening to speeches from Yaxley-Lennon, the Ukip chief Gerard Batten, the YouTuber Carl Benjamin and the Tory-turned-Ukip politician Neil Hamilton.
Addressing the gang, Yaxley-Lennon mentioned he was among the many 30-40% of people that don’t vote. “I’ve by no means voted as a result of there is no such thing as a one to vote for,” he mentioned.
Now, with a transfer to the best from Ukip, whose chief not too long ago appointed Yaxley-Lennon as an adviser, Britain would have a populist get together of its personal to vote for, he mentioned. “Ukip is usually a voice for the working class communities,” he mentioned, including that “no different politician will discuss Islam; no different politician will speak in regards to the points affecting our nation.”
Amongst these watching was Madeleine Jenkins, 72, from Brentwood. She had joined the march to “get us out of the EU”, she mentioned.
“It’s a completely faux deal and we wish to go to WTO guidelines. It shouldn’t be horrifying as a result of we don’t wish to belong to a communist state. We wish to be unbiased and I feel you’ll find the jap European international locations additionally wouldn’t wish to be in what it’s grow to be, as a result of they simply received out of a totalitarian state.”