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Tommy Robinson leads ‘football hooligan’ march in London demanding resignation of Met Police chief Mark Rowley as thousands of officers take to the streets

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Tommy Robinson marched with ‘massive’ crowds of supporters through central London today as counter-protestors mobilised in opposition in Whitehall.

Scotland Yard assured thousands of police officers had been drawn in to police the protests through the capital, with as many as 400 from forces outside London.

Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley Lennon, set off from Victoria around 1pm with a large group toting Union Flags and the Flag of St George, with views to march on Parliament Square. A livestream quickly amassed more than 100,000 views on Twitter/X.

Police warned that groups from across the UK linked to football disorders were expected to attend the event, and imposed conditions requiring all those taking part to form up in an agreed area and stick to an agreed route to prevent ‘serious disruption or serious disorder’.

Mr Robinson posted a video on X in which he called for people to join him on the march. ‘We’re sick of two-tiered policing and justice system in our country,’ he wrote. ‘We demand the resignation of corrupt met commissioner Mark Rowley.’ 

A static counter-protest, organised by Stand Up To Racism, is expected to take place in Whitehall from midday in response to Robinson’s march, and police note the city is likely to be busy with fan events linked to the Champions League Final tonight.

Stand Up To Racism posted on its website saying they will ‘stand together against attempts to divide us’. 

The protest led by ‘Tommy Robinson’ appeared to be calling for Sir Mark Rowley’s resignation

Flags wave outside of Victoria Station on Saturday as people prepare to march on the capital

Flags wave outside of Victoria Station on Saturday as people prepare to march on the capital 

People take part in a protest march through London, organised by Tommy Robinson, real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon

People take part in a protest march through London, organised by Tommy Robinson, real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon

Groups from across the UK linked to football disorder are expected to attend the event the Metropolitan Police said

Groups from across the UK linked to football disorder are expected to attend the event the Metropolitan Police said

Protesters arrive in London for a protest march, expected to be heavily policed by the Met

Protesters arrive in London for a protest march, expected to be heavily policed by the Met

Ahead of the protest beginning in Victoria, football chants could be heard coming from the crowd.

Some also tried to start up pro-Palestinian chants of ‘To the river’ chants and at least one Israel flag could be seen.

The Met Police have assured officers will be deployed ‘in significant numbers’ to ensure those in Parliament Square and those in Whitehall do not come together.

More than 2,000 police officers will be on duty on Saturday, policing the protests as well as the Champions League Final at Wembley and related fan events, the force said.

TfL added that the Jubilee and Metropolitan lines were likely to be particularly busy as a result, forecasting possible station closures.

T/Commander Louise Puddefoot, leading the operation this weekend, said: ‘Officers have been in discussion with the organisers of both protests in recent weeks. 

‘Our priority is to ensure those exercising their right to lawful protest, both in the main march and as part of the counter protest, can do so safely.

‘Officers will police these demonstrations, as they always do, without fear or favour – keeping participants and the wider public safe, and responding decisively to criminal offences and any attempt to cause serious disruption.

‘While we are grateful to the main organiser of the protest for comments he has made publicly discouraging violence on Saturday, we do have concerns about the number of those believed to be attending who have links to football disorder.

‘When these groups have come together at previous protests we have regrettably seen violence directed at officers. This precedent unavoidably plays a part in shaping the policing approach, including the number and nature of resources allocated to police this particular protest.’ 

Conditions remain in place for the procession to move along the pre-agreed route from Vauxhall Bridge Road onto Millbank, through Abingdon Square and onto Parliament Square. 

‘They’re not to enter the borough of Westminster, not to go onto any bridge over the Thames and not to go onto the pavement. This is to prevent the serious disruption they have said they want to achieve,’ the Met wrote on Twitter/X. 

At the march on Saturday, Robinson’s group displayed banners calling for the removal of Met Commissioner Mark Rowley from his role. 

A statement on an affiliated petition claimed to oppose biased policing practices’ while ‘demanding accountability from those in power’.

A third protest, ‘likely smaller in size and unrelated to the above events’ is also expected to take place on Saturday afternoon, organised by Youth Demand, a group protesting the ongoing conflict in Gaza. 

They have said in public statements that they intend to occupy roads and bridges.

T/Commander Puddefoot said: ‘This group has made no secret of their intentions. They have indicated that they will go beyond what can be considered lawful protest, instead trying to cause serious disruption to communities by blocking roads and the bridges that are essential for keeping traffic moving across London.’

‘Regrettably they have not engaged with us ahead of this event,’ a statement continued.

‘Protest organisers do have an obligation to inform the police of their intent to hold a protest, allowing us to plan accordingly, but Youth Demand are one of those groups who don’t engage.

‘If they did we would reiterate to them that we will of course respect their right to protest, but not to cause serious disruption.

‘Officers will be deployed to respond to any action taken. They will use all the relevant powers available to them, including the imposition of conditions.’

Tommy Robinson pictured at the protest in London calling for the resignation of Mark Rowley

Tommy Robinson pictured at the protest in London calling for the resignation of Mark Rowley 

Tommy Robinson (centre), whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon, leads a protest march through London to Parliament Square

Tommy Robinson (centre), whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon, leads a protest march through London to Parliament Square

Groups from across the UK linked to football disorder are expected to attend the event the Metropolitan Police said

Groups from across the UK linked to football disorder are expected to attend the event the Metropolitan Police said

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