UK protests: Clashes feared as right-wing groups vow to ‘defend’ memorials over weekend

On Friday evening, the Metropolitan Police imposed conditions instructing Black Lives Matter and right-wing protesters to stay in separate areas or face being arrested. Please keep yourself safe by complying with government guidance on social distancing.” Conditions imposed under the Public Order Act stipulate that Black Lives Matter and “associated groups” must follow a set protest route from Hyde Park to Whitehall and finish by 5pm. Scotland Yard stated that “any assembly promoted by the right wing and associated groups which is due to take place on 13 June also has two conditions imposed on it” must stay on the other side of a police cordon in the same period. “I have no doubt that police across the country have the skills, experience and dedication to respond as well as possible to the challenge, and the vast majority of protestors intend to be peaceful,” he said. Speaking on Friday, Boris Johnson said: “Whatever our feelings about the cause, we should not support a demonstration that is, in all probability looking at what has happened before, going to end in deliberate and calculated violence.” But police leaders said they had no plans to shut protests down or tell organisers to call them off. NPCC chair Martin Hewitt said officers were balancing the “competing demands” of the coronavirus outbreak, Health Protection Regulations and the right to protest. “But if you must attend, then please stay safe, observe social distancing and protest peacefully, as criminal behaviour or any violence towards our police officers or others will not be tolerated.”