Police in the UK have imposed restrictions on protests which are being held in London today, with Black Lives Matter activists and right-wing counter protesters being told to finish their marches by 4pm CEST.
The restrictions are over fears there may be clashes between the two sides. The Black Lives Matter movement has cancelled the demonstration in the capital, but thousands are expected to attend anyway.
The death of George Floyd in police custody in the US last month sparked protests across the world, focused on racial injustice and police brutality. Last weekend there were violent scenes in London as police officers were attacked by a crowd of people, and some acts of vandalism were reported.
Commander Bas Javid of the Metropolitan Police said he understood “why people want to make their voices heard” but he urged people to stay away from demonstrations, pointing to the government’s calls for people not to gather in large groups amid the coronavirus pandemic.
And with right-wing and far-right counter-protests planned for Saturday, the police fear there could be clashes.
“Based on current information, and in order to keep those people safe who plan to come and protest, we have made the decision to impose conditions on the planned demonstrations tomorrow,” said Javid.
Government figures including Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel have spoken out about “shameful” attacks on the statue of Britain’s war time PM Winston Churchill, which was daubed with graffiti last weekend.
Statues have become something of a focal point in the protests against racial injustice that have swept from the US to European countries.
The statue of Churchill has been boarded up ahead of the protest this weekend to protect it.