Violent protesters could face jail within 24-hours under new plans

12 June 2020, 06:49

Violent protesters could face swift justice under new plans
Violent protesters could face swift justice under new plans. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Protesters who turn violent at demonstrations this weekend will reportedly be fast-tracked through the courts and could be jailed within 24 hours.

Fast-track plans for courts come amid warnings from authorities over Black Lives Matter and far-right demonstrations which are anticipated in London this weekend.

One newspaper reported anybody caught causing criminal damage or assaulting police officers could face court action "within 24 hours of arrest to defuse disorder."

The Times reported Justice Secretary Robert Buckland and Home Secretary Priti Patel have drawn up the plans based on the response to the 2011 London riots.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has warned that "far-right groups" plan to demonstrate in the capital this weekend and there is a risk they could clash with anti-racism protesters leading to violence and disorder.

Hoarding was erected around the statue of Winston Churchill and the Cenotaph ahead of the weekend after the national monuments were vandalised during previous protests.

With several of the far-right groups stating they plan to "protect" monuments, there are fears they could become a flashpoint for disorder.

After consecutive weekends of BLM demonstrations, far-right group the Democratic Football Lads Alliance has called on supporters to travel to London to protect monuments.

Far-right figure Tommy Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has also expressed his support.

Mr Khan said: "I'm extremely concerned that further protests in central London not only risk spreading Covid-19, but could lead to disorder, vandalism and violence.

"Extreme far-right groups who advocate hatred and division are planning counter-protests, which means that the risk of disorder is high.

"Be in no doubt these counter-protests are there to provoke violence, and their only goal is to distract and hijack this important issue.

"Staying home and ignoring them is the best response this weekend."

The warning comes as the impact of the Black Lives Matter movement continues to be felt across the country with the removal of a string of monuments and statues.

On Thursday evening, a Bristol tower block sign bearing the name of a slave trader was removed is the latest in a string of monuments and statues being pulled down across the country.

On Thursday, Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals in London announced it will remove two statues of their namesakes from public view due to their links to the slave trade.

Elsewhere, a video circulating online showed men in hard hats scaling Colston Tower in Bristol city centre and removing the controversial figure's name from atop the high-rise building.

Hours earlier, Colston's statue was fished out of Bristol harbour after being pulled down and dumped into the water during an anti-racism demonstration on Sunday.

Authorities across the country are facing pressure to review contentious monuments following protests over the death of George Floyd and racial injustice.

Mr Floyd died after a white police officer held him down by pressing his knee into his neck for almost nine minutes in Minneapolis on May 25.