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Police clash with St George’s Day protesters at central London rally



Clashes have taken place in central London between police and participants in a St George’s Day event attended by crowds that included some far-right supporters.

Groups of men wielding flags pushed through lines of police attempting to hold them back in an area near Whitehall before the event, resulting in police on horseback being sent in.

At least six people were arrested by police, including one man on suspicion of animal cruelty after a police horse was allegedly targeted on Whitehall.

Four people were detained during clashes outside a pub after the rally. Bottles were thrown and the Trafalgar Square side of Whitehall was briefly closed as police contained the disorder, arresting one person on suspicion of assault and three on suspicion of assaulting an emergency worker.

Marchers walked from Parliament Square along Whitehall. Photograph: Amer Ghazzal/Rex/Shutterstock

The event was addressed by the far-right leader Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who calls himself Tommy Robinson. Others in attendance included Laurence Fox, the former actor and leader of the Reclaim party.

A group had earlier come up against a cordon an hour before the event was due to take place at an allocated location on Richmond Terrace, “violently forcing their way through” when they were told to turn around, the Metropolitan police said.

The force said it had been in discussions with the organiser of the event over recent days. In a post on X, it added: “We believe those planning to attend include far-right groups and groups linked to football clubs travelling from elsewhere in the UK.”

People participating in the event, which could not start before 3pm and had to finish by 5pm, were supposed to remain on Richmond Terrace within a designated area marked in pink on a map.

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Laurence Fox was among those attending the march. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA

However, disorder had broken out an hour before it was due to begin, Scotland Yard said. At one point a police horse was struck, while police grappled with groups of men on Whitehall.

A section 60AA order, giving officers the power to require the removal of face coverings, had also been put into force in the boroughs of Lambeth and Westminster after people gathering in the Waterloo area before the event were seen wearing masks.

Public order units from the Met were deployed ahead of the disorder, which caused Whitehall to be closed off in both directions for a period, supported by the British Transport Police and the City of London force.

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