#BLM “Bring Down Churchill”, London Riots Feared
UK Home Secretary: “We Cannot Allow Mob Rule”
Black Lives Matter organiser, Imarn Ayton, 29, has demanded the removal of Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square, London, as the UK Government warns that it will not tolerate anarchy.
The Home Secretary Priti Patel and Justice Secretary Robert Buckland are organizing a strong response to Black Lives Matter protests, based on the response to the 2011 London riots, recommending magistrates’ courts to extend opening hours and fast-track criminal cases relating to the BLM protests.
Ignoring warnings to obey coronavirus restrictions, as many as 150,000 protestors across the UK have caused chaos and destruction in the name of George Floyd, who died during police arrest on suspicion of passing counterfeit money in the USA.
Start of a revolution
Imarn Ayton, connected with the group Justice for Black Lives, reportedly said of Winston Churchill’s and other’s statues “I want them down”, accoring to MSN News. Ayton, who is listed on the Mandy website as an actor, described herself as a “full-time activist”. Previous acting credits include an appearance in a 2013 McDonald’s advert.
Another protestor, Elen Ekpaloba, 23, a student at the Big Creative Education college, told MSN, “This is the start of a revolution”.
49 police officers were injured during last weekend’s Black Lives Matter demonstrations in London alone, with 135 arrests being made. Shocking scenes have also emerged of further attacks on the police in the capital. A police officer was assaulted by a black gang in Hackney, Wednesday, in an attack described as “truly stomach churning” and “horrific” by the head of Police Federation, John Apter, according to The Independent. Four arrests have since been made.
An activist seen standing next to John Boyega at last weekend’s Black Lives Matter protest has been identified as Gary McFarlane, a long-serving member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). According to the Daily Mail, he called a police woman injured during the demonstrations “stupid” and condoned shooting police officers. The SWP said that McFarlane helped set up a BLack Lives Matter group in London in 2016.
Fearing clashes with counter-protestors, BLM leaders have called off Saturday’s protest march in London. The Socialist Worker publication advertised the planned demonstrations Friday, calling for supporters to attend. London authorities, including police, have gone ahead with precautions in anticipation of mass disorder on the streets.
According to the Daily Mail, counter-protestors include the self-styled Democratic Football Lads Alliance, which is rallying “football lads, patriots, veterans and people who just love their country”, for a “protection mission” to prevent the widespread vandalism of London’s monuments, including the Cenotaph, seen in previous BLM demonstrations. The media has been quick to label these groups “hooligans” and “far right”.
There is already a heavy police presence at strategic points in London, including the Cenotaph and Parliament Square. The BBC has released footage of apparent confrontation between counter-protestors and the police.
Some far-right groups are present as predicted. Paul Golding, the leader of far-right group Britain First, arrived at the Cenotaph in London Saturday morning wearing a top reading: “White Lives Matter” and “#BritainFirst”.
Most of the counter-protestors are demonstrating peacefully, including one veterans group holding “Lest We Forget” flags.
Other counter-protest have been held across the country. Protesters in Bristol gathered at the Cenotaph and held up banners reading “All Lives Matter”. Another banner read: “Not far right just ordinary people of all races from Bristol, Bath, Cardiff, Newport etc. United to defend the Cenotaph to defend the memory of people who died so that we are able to have the freedom to protest.”
One of the BLM protest organisers, Denise Richards, told the Daily Mail that many BLM activists would avoid London today for fear of violent clashes. She said: “No I won’t be coming to London, initially that was the plan but hearing what the far right were planning to do, for our chapter it was a non-starter. If we don’t give into threats, people will lose their lives… I just don’t think it’s worth us losing our lives.”
We should free Churchill
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has been slow to protect the capital, focusing instead on plans to tear down other London monuments that fall foul of the BLM agenda. Already across the UK, people have lost their jobs for voicing criticism – Nigel Farage was ousted from LBC after he compared the BLM’s destruction of public monuments to the Taliban’s destruction of public monuments – and much-loved comedy programmes, including Fawlty Towers and Little Britain, have fallen to the new censorship.
The British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has criticised Khan’s boarding up of the Churchill statue as “absurd and shameful”. The Home Secretary also saw Khan’s decision as caving in to mob rule. “We should free Churchill, a hero of our nation, who fought against fascism and racism in this country and Europe,” Patel was reported as saying.
A society that has lost its compass
Speaking to The Telegraph, Sir Nicholas Soames, a former Conservative minister and Winston Churchill’s grandson, said: “I find it extraordinary that millions and millions of people all over the world who look up to Britain will be astonished that a statue of Churchill and the Cenotaph, our national war memorial, could have been defaced in this disgusting way. It feels like a society that has lost its compass.”
Criminality will not be tolerated
To prevent the scale of disorder seen at previous BLM demonstrations, the Metropolitan Police has issued a 5 p.m. curfew under section 12 of the Public Order Act.
Ahead of the expected demonstrtions, Metropolitan Police Commander Bas Javid said “Protecting property, protecting people, particularly police officers, is really important and criminality will not be tolerated.”
Sources: Daily Mail, MSN News, Sky News
Image: Black Lives Matter protestors rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, August 17, 2014.