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MP calls for ‘justice’ after far-right violence

Nickie Aiken urges home secretary to act following attacks on police officers

19 June, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Nickie Aiken: ‘For the past two weekends parts of my constituency have experienced some appalling acts of criminal damage’

NICKIE Aiken MP has called for more protection and support for police after 23 officers were reportedly injured during far-right demonstrations over the weekend.

The Conservative member for Cities of London and Westminster urged home secretary Priti Patel on Monday to “commit to bringing to justice the hooligans responsible”.

More than a 100 people were arrested in and around Parliament Square last Saturday following violent clashes between protesters and police units.

Footage of the protest showed officers being kicked, punched and pelted by objects such as ­bottles.

Speaking in the Commons, Ms Aiken said: “For the past two weekends parts of my constituency have experienced some appalling acts of criminal damage, including smashed windows, offensive graffiti and, even worse, violence towards front-line police officers.”

Hundreds of angry protesters, some of them far-right activists, flooded Parliament Square.

Some had attended in retaliation to the Black Lives Matter marches that have taken place in London since the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in police custody.

Anti-racism protesters gathered in Hyde Park on the same day.

Some protesters said they were “statue defenders” and were there to protect British monuments such as the memorial of Sir Winston Churchill which had been boarded up after having “was a racist” graffiti on it during previous BLM protests, which have largely been peaceful.

The Met Police have set about prosecuting those who assaulted police officers or committed crimes during the day-long protest.

A man from Sunderland has admitted kicking a policeman in the back.

And Andrew Banks, 28, from Stansted, Essex, was jailed after urinating by a memorial dedicated to PC Keith Palmer.

Ms Patel said: “My honourable friend is absolutely right to pay tribute to all the officers who served to keep her constituents safe at the weekend, and also to man the protests and arrest the individuals perpetrating violence and crime.

“In answer to her final point about ensuring that the perpetrators of the violence, the thuggery and the hooliganism face justice, we will absolutely support the police in all their efforts to bring forward the investigations, using police bodycam and CCTV footage, and make sure those individuals face justice.”

Police bodies and unions have sought an emergency ban on all protests, such as was enforced after eight days of Extinction Rebellion protests in October last year. The home office has said no applications to ban marches have been submitted by the Met or local authorities but Ms Patel urged people not to attend protests saying they are illegal under Covid-19 legis­lation and place the public at risk.

Boards protecting the Church­ill statue were rem­oved yesterday (Thursday) for a visit by French president Emmanuel Macron.

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