Black Lives Matter protesters gather in London for fresh day of demonstrations after activists kettled by police in Glasgow

Protesters have gathered in London for a fourth weekend of anti-racist demonstrations in London.

Demonstrators have assembled in Parliament Square in central London, as well as in Hyde Park.

Police also arrived in force, with 14 police vans lined up along the road by Marble Arch near Hyde Park. Helicopters circled overhead.

Protest organisers offered the people who came to Hyde Park face masks and gloves to protect against coronavirus, while a sound system was also playing music.

One protester, who gave her name as Victoria, said: “Before coming to the protests I was seeing everything online – all these videos of police brutality and it makes you so angry and makes you consider your own feelings about racism.”

She added: “When I come to these protests it is such a release, it almost feels like peace – you have family, you have people who want to understand and it’s like a community.”

Another protester said that she wanted the momentum of the protests to yield real results.

She went on: “We’re in a pandemic and I don’t want it to just be a hashtag and a trend.

“It is hopeful because people are finally listening but are they just listening because they have the time and they are bored?”

Protesters in Hyde Park (PA)

A third protestor, Imarn Ayton, gave a speech criticising the Government decision to ask adviser Munira Mirza to set up the race inequality commission.

Ms Ayton said: “This is a woman who does not believe in institutional racism – she has argued it is more of a perception than a reality.”

Meanwhile in Glasgow, hundreds of protesters gathered for an anti-racism demonstration in George Square, despite pleas from city authorities and police to stay away.

Organisers said the Glasgow Says No to Racism event is aimed at “sending a positive anti-racist message from Glasgow’s George Square to the world on World Refugee Day”.

More than 500 people attended the rally, with stewards asking them to stick to social distancing guidelines by following markings on the square.

They had also been asked to wear masks and not to travel farther than public health advice allows.

Police vans lined the square, with more than 100 officers in attendance, including riot police and mounted officers.

Arrivals included members of the Green Brigade, linked to Celtic ultras, supporting the anti-racism rally.

Police horses and riot officers were used to control their arrival in the square and when the event ended around noon they were kettled before being moved through the city, controlled by police horses and scores of officers.

Protesters in Glasgow (PA)

Loyalists and members of a far-right group announced online on Friday night that they planned to head to the square to “protect statues”.

A small group gathered at the war memorial during the rally as lines of riot police separated the two.

At the start of the rally, the crowd took a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Later, names of people who died in police custody were read out and attendees chanted “no justice, no peace, no racist police”.

Speakers said they “didn’t come here for a fight” and spoke of securing greater rights for refugees and asylum seekers.

They added “no-one welcomes” the far-right group and called on police to “do their job”.

There were some minor scuffles as police controlled people arriving and leaving but the rally was peaceful.

Protesters kettled at Glasgow anti-racism rally

Protesters being kettled and moved on questioned officers over why similar had not happened to a far-right group involved in violent scenes at the square on Wednesday.

At least six people were arrested on Wednesday following scenes labelled “disgraceful” by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Far-right loyalists targeted a rally calling for improved living conditions for refugees.

Police Scotland, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf and the head of Glasgow City Council Susan Aitken had called on the public not to gather at George Square this weekend.

Chief superintendent Hazel Hendren, divisional commander for Greater Glasgow, said on Friday evening: “Please do not come to George Square tomorrow.

“The lockdown restrictions remain in place and people should leave their homes only for very limited purposes.

A protester being led away by police in Glasgow (PA)

“Anyone who wants to protest should find another way of doing so that keeps everyone safe.”

The London and Glasgow protests come a day after hundreds of demonstrators staged a four-hour anti-racist rally and march through Birmingham city centre on Friday.

Three police officers were pictured kneeling with a demonstrator during the event, which began in Birmingham’s Victoria Square.

Protesters held a silence was held in the square in tribute to George Floyd, who died at the hands of US police last month, while another silence was observed later on in the march.

This weekend’s demonstrations follow counter-protests last Saturday, in which many of the people who said they had gathered to defend statues attacked police officers.

There were also violent clashes in London the weekend before between anti-racist protesters and police.

Metropolitan Police Commander Alex Murray said more than 100 officers have been assaulted since the end of May.

Discussing this week’s protests, he added: “I really hope we’re not going to see what we saw last weekend or the weekend before.

“We don’t have any information there’s anyone from the right wing attending but we have got information that large crowds of people will be attending.”

Police continue to urge people not to go to any marches, with coronavirus still present throughout the UK.

With additional reporting by PA

Evening Standard – London