Black Lives Matter Organisers Cancel London Event to Avoid Clashes with Far-Right Hooligans12 Jun 2020
The Black Lives Matter protests due to take place in London this Saturday have been cancelled. Organisers said that the cancellation of the event is due to “many hate groups” who were threatening the safety of those attending the protests.
Activist group, Hope Not Hate, had warned earlier this week that far-right groups, including hooligans associated with the so-called Democratic Football Lads Alliance, were planning to descend on London. These mobs were endorsed by former EDL leader “Tommy Robinson”, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon.
“We want the protests to be a safe space for people to attend”
The Black Lives Matter London demonstration was originally scheduled to take place this Saturday, continuing on the protests that took place across the UK last week. While the majority of demonstrations have been peaceful, the protests saw the statue of Winston Churchill in Westminster defaced, and in Bristol, the statue of 17th century slave trader, Edward Colston, was taken down and thrown into the river by protesters, eliciting complaints from far-right pundits.
According to Hope Not Hate, the far-right mobs intend to “protect our memorials” by forming rings around prominent statues, war memorials and other monuments around the city. Among the groups believed to have planned to attend are the so-called Democratic Football Lads Alliance, an organisation of football hooligans believed to have links to the far-right, as well as the ex-serviceman group Veterans Against Terrorism and some chapters of Hells Angels.
Although the main stated goals of these far-right groups is to “protect” monuments, previous protests around the UK where the far-right was also in attendance have been marked with violence, with far-right mobs often shouting racist and sexist insults. With “Robinson” himself expected to be in attendance on Saturday, there were widespread fears that violence could erupt in the protests which attracted far-right thugs from Sunderland and Yorkshire.
It is with this in mind that the organisers of the Black Lives Matter London have decided to call off events tomorrow, fearing that it would not be safe. Organisers said that they want the protests to be safe for everyone, but feared that this would not be possible with far-right groups present.
London braces for protests
Although the official protest has been called off, a number of smaller protests, such as the “Antifascists support Black Lives Matter” protest organised by Labour Party pressure group Momentum, is still expected to take place on Saturday. Furthermore, there are concerns that protesters may still show up on their own volition, risking confrontations with far-right thugs who, in private chat groups, expressed to stage a “show of strength”.
The chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, Martin Hewitt, told reporters that the police is expecting disorder tomorrow and possibly through the summer, warning that the discontent from the lockdown could pour further fuel on the fire.
In London, a number of statues, including those of Winston Churchill and Nelson Mandela, were covered up to protect them from both the Black Lives Matter protests and the far-right mobs.