London police contain rival protests over soldier’s killing

Supporters of a Unite Against Fascism (UAF) counter-demonstration to another one held by the far-right British National Party (BNP) against the killing of a British soldier, scuffle with police in central London Credit: Reuters
Supporters of a Unite Against Fascism (UAF) counter-demonstration to another one held by the far-right British National Party (BNP) against the killing of a British soldier, scuffle with police in central London
Credit: Reuters

Police intervened to separate about 150 far-right protesters from a much larger anti-racism crowd in London on Saturday to stop them from coming to blows over the killing of a British soldier on a busy street last week.

A number of protests and counter-protests have taken place in the wake of the May 22 killing of Lee Rigby, a serving soldier and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, which the authorities are treating as a terrorist incident.

Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo are now in custody on suspicion of killing Rigby. Adebowale has been charged with murder and possession of a firearm.

Small but noisy far-right groups have taken to the streets several times since Rigby’s killing to express anti-Muslim views. Their actions have been widely condemned and police, politicians and religious leaders have appealed for calm.

The protest by the far-right British National Party (BNP) near the Houses of Parliament was dwarfed by a counter-demonstration by a group called Unite Against Fascism (UAF).

The BNP protesters held placards with the slogan “Hate preachers out”, a reference to radical Muslim clerics they say should be deported from Britain. The UAF banners had slogans like “Free hugs”, “Nazis out” and “Jobs and homes not racism”.

Witnesses said there were some minor scuffles and they saw one man with a bloody nose, but police intervened quickly to keep the two sides apart.

Police said some of the UAF protesters refused to remain in their designated penned area and 20 were arrested.

The BNP originally wanted to march through Woolwich, the neighborhood in southeast London where Rigby was killed, but the police banned them from the area because it could have resulted in “ugly scenes on our streets”.

Another far-right group, the English Defence League (EDL), skirmished with police in Woolwich on the night of the killing and mustered about 1,000 protesters in central London on May 27 to chant slogans like “Muslim killers off our streets”.

Rigby’s family issued a statement on Friday saying his death should not be used as a pretext for reprisal attacks against Muslims.

On Saturday, the Daily Mirror newspaper published a letter entitled “Hope not Hate”, signed by 33,000 people including Ed Miliband, the leader of the opposition Labour Party.

“By blaming all Muslims for the terrible murder of Drummer Lee Rigby, the EDL will attempt to whip up a climate of fear and violence towards the Muslim community in Britain. But the EDL will fail,” the letter said.

“We know that the EDL does not speak for all Britain, just as we know that Muslim extremists do not speak for all Muslims.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Eric Garner death prompts NYPD retraining, pols demanding…

The New York City Police Department will revise training procedures for its officers following the death of Staten Island man Eric Garner after an arrest gone awry.

National

Parched Texas town turns to sewage water to…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - When the going got tough due one of with worst droughts in a century, the parched Texas city of Wichita…

International

NYPD: Robber makes elderly man drive to Queens…

A robber grabbed an elderly man's neck outside a Queens supermarket, stole his wallet and made him drive to ATMs for withdrawals last week, police said.

Local

Tattooed, bearded suspect sought in Williamsburg bike theft:…

The suspected thief faces grand larceny charges after investigators said he entered the building on North 5th Street in Williamsburg.

Arts

Don't miss 'Charles James: Beyond Fashion' at the…

Have you been meaning to see "Charles James: Beyond Fashion"? There are only two weeks left to get to the Met and catch this amazing American fashion designer's collection.

Television

Zac Posen talks 'Project Runway' and what it…

We talked to Zac Posen, judge and designer extraordinaire, about the new season of "Project Runway" and what keeps him coming back after three seasons.

Television

'Face Off' contestant David 'DOC' O'Connell sounds off…

David "DOC" O'Connell tells us about getting cast on Season 7 of Syfy's "Face Off," premiering tonight at 9.

Arts

PHOTO: Wildlife photographer Marc Mol captures amazing aerial…

This aerial image was taken by photographer Marc Mol who spotted the animals during an air safari in Zambia.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead…

MLB Power Rankings: A's, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers lead pack

NFL

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will…

2014 NFL season betting odds: Which team will win Super Bowl?

NFL

5 players to watch at Giants training camp

Metro takes a look at five players who will be on everyone’s mind when Giants training camp gets underway.

NFL

'Vicktory dogs' travel road to rehabilitation seven years…

Of the dozens of dogs groomed by Bad Newz Kennels, 48 were rescued and 22 of the pit bull terriers have emerged at Best Friends Animal Society.

Home

5 New Ikea products that will change your…

We round-up the latest must-have products.

Food

Recipe: Wolfgang Puck's Buttermilk French Toast

We recently spent some time chatting with restauranteur/celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck at his Wolfgang Puck American Grille in the Borgata in Atlantic City. Puck wanted…

Style

Go retro with your sneakers

The best of wacky new sneakers.

Parenting

Buy gently worn back-to-school clothes with Kidizen

Kidizen allows parents to buy and sell gently worn back-to-school clothes.