Frantic scenes unfolded in London during clashes between patriotic Brits and Antifa protesters.
Ex-EDL leader Tommy Robinson also participated in the march, in which a high number of police officers moved to contain violence. Crowds had gathered in Trafalgar Square, next to the South African embassy, from around midday on Saturday.
Demonstrators from pro-British groups clashed with far-left, anti-fascist protesters in central London on Saturday. Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, had to be protected by police officers, as the demonstrations turned ugly.
Britain First and the English Defence League had gathered at Trafalgar Square, but the demonstrators spilled into roads around the square. Organisers described the event as a response to the deadly March 22 terror attack near Parliament.
On a Facebook event page, Britain First said “all patriots welcome to attend”, while the EDL said on an event page: “We will stand together and show we will not now, not ever, bow down and fear terrorists and terrorism.”
London’s Metropolitan Police imposed restrictions to try to keep the groups from clashing, and arrested 14 people for various offenses during the march and rally, when Unite Against Fascism ordered a counter demonstration. UAF protesters chanted “EDL go to hell”.
The protests came just 10 days after a black Muslim convert, Khalid Masood launched an 82-second rampage near Westminster that left four dead. Masood was shot dead by police after he drove his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London and then attempted to enter the parliament, stabbing a police officer to death in the process. Five people, including the attacker, died as a result of the terrorist act, while at least 40 people were injured.
Scotland Yard said on Friday that the information and intelligence available to the Met indicated a possibility of “serious disorder, serious damage to property, serious disruption to the life of the community, and to prevent the intimidation of local people trying to go about their business”.
Chief Superintendent Catherine Roper said: “The right to protest is a fundamental right in our democratic society, but this right must be balanced against the right of people to go about their day without fear of violence, disorder or disruption.
“Experience has shown us that when groups with conflicting views come together it can create tension and disorder, not just on the day itself but in the longer term.”
British intelligence services meanwhile revealed that international terror group ISIS may be plotting attacks in the United Kingdom, targeting the country’s airports and nuclear power plants. In a series of alerts within last the 24 hours they warned about the threat of terror attacks, local media reported.
UK intelligence agencies fear that ISIS has acquired the ability to smuggle explosives in mobile phones and laptops to bypass security checks at airports, The Telegraph reported.
Hackers may also try to bypass security systems of nuclear power plants by exploiting vulnerabilities in their internet defense. Energy Minister Jesse Norman told The Telegraph that the nuclear plants must make sure they “remain resilient to evolving cyber threats”.
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