Police break up 'unlawful' protest outside French embassy in London following Nice attack

30 October 2020, 14:53 | Updated: 30 October 2020, 15:40

Islamic protesters have gathered outside the French embassy in London
Islamic protesters have gathered outside the French embassy in London. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Protesters have gathered outside the French embassy in London in the wake of the Nice attack which left three people dead.

Police broke up the "unlawful" demonstration after the group failed to provide the local authority with a sufficient risk assessment.

Officers have advised those taking part to disperse and are engaging with the crowds but will use enforcement action where necessary.

Some people could be seen holding signs reading: 'Islam is the religion of love and peace', 'Respect our Prophet' and 'Emmanuel Macron do not divide humanity'.

The group were also heard chanting "Allahu Akbar" outside the embassy and seen pausing for a moment of prayer.

Read more: Three dead in terror attack at church in French city of Nice

Read more: Teacher beheaded in Paris after showing Prophet Muhammad cartoons

Protesters briefly paused their demonstration in a moment of prayer
Protesters briefly paused their demonstration in a moment of prayer. Picture: PA

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "The group failed to produce a sufficient risk assessment to the local authority and so, their protest has been determined unlawful.

"Those participating in the protest are currently being advised to disperse. Officers will be engaging with crowds and informing them of this development.

"Where necessary, enforcement action will be considered and taken."

It comes amid rising tensions between France and the Islamic world after a Tunisian man killed three people in a church in Nice this week and, earlier this month, a history teacher was beheaded on the streets of a Parisian suburb.

The attacks followed the decision of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo to re-publish infamous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

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The images deeply offended Muslims across the world, with protesters burning French flags, stomping on portraits of President Emmanuel Macron and calling for boycotts of French products at demonstrations in Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Afghanistan.

Mr Macron said France would not give in to terrorism and called for firmness and unity following the latest attacks.

Following the beheading on history teacher Samuel Paty, the president promised to crack down on Islamist extremism, including shutting down mosques and other organisations accused of fomenting radicalism and violence

He said he would immediately increase the number of soldiers deployed to protect schools and religious sites in the country from around 3,000 to 7,000 in the wake of the attacks.

Prime Minister Jean Castex told French lawmakers that the country would raise its alert level to "emergency" in response to the Nice murders.