Cressida Dick urges people to 'stay away' from protests this weekend

12 June 2020, 20:49

By Kate Buck

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has urged protesters to "stay away" from London this weekend amid fears right wing groups could clash with Black Lives Matter supporters.

Commissioner Dick said the force is anticipating more protests this weekend, but said last weekend's demonstrations were "marred by violence".

It is feared the streets could once again see further tensions, after far right groups said they would be demonstrating in London to protect various statues which were vandalised last weekend.

Thanking those who kept the protests peaceful last week, Commission Dick asked them to carry on sending those messages.

But she added: "I think people should stay away from these protests. I think it's clear that we're in the middle of a public health crisis, so it's not safe for them, it's not safe for people around them.

"Secondly, we do have information that people are intent on coming to cause violence and confrontation. Of course we will do everything we can to prevent violence and disorder.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has urged protesters to stay away from London
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick has urged protesters to stay away from London. Picture: PA
Winston Churchills statue has been boarded up in Parliament Square for its protection
Winston Churchills statue has been boarded up in Parliament Square for its protection. Picture: PA
The Cenotaph has also been boarded up
The Cenotaph has also been boarded up. Picture: PA

"Im very proud of what the officers did last weekend, it's always complicated policing public disorder, in particular when it becomes violent and we don't want that to happen again.

"My message to people who I'm sure have very strong feelings about the issues, this weekend please express your voice in a different way and don't come physically to the streets of London."

Groups such as the Democratic Football Lads Alliance have said they will be travelling to the capital to protect the city's monuments.

Former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson has also given his support to the action.

The Cenotaph and monument to Winston Churchill have been covered ahead of the protests.

Hundreds gathered once again in London on Friday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Hundreds once again gathered in central London again today
Hundreds once again gathered in central London again today. Picture: PA

Photos posted to social media show hundreds of protestors gathered in Trafalgar Square, including a group dance on the steps.

Protestors have been told to "stay peaceful" and not engage with any far right counter demonstrators who may turn up.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier today said the Black Lives Matter protests have been "hijacked by extremists intent on violence" as he urged people to avoid marching this weekend

Police have also enforced a plan which aims to keep opposing groups apart and decrease the chances of any violence breaking out.

The Black Lives Matter protesters are only permitted to gather until 5pm, and are only permitted to follow a route from Hyde Park to Whitehall, passing through Piccadilly Circus.

It is expected counter-protests will gather in London over the weekend
It is expected counter-protests will gather in London over the weekend. Picture: PA

They must also remain north of a border line drawn by police.

Right wing groups and their affiliates are only permitted to gather in Parliament Square and into Whitehall, and must remain south of the border line.

Commander Bas Javid said: “We all saw the crowds that came together last weekend, and the demonstration on the whole was peaceful and reinforced the legitimacy of feelings within our communities.

“However on both days, there was a minority intent on disorder, which resulted in incidents of violence and criminal behaviour, and assaults against our officers. This cannot be tolerated."