Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has strongly condemned the violent clashes that took place in central London between far-right groups and pro-Palestinian protesters. The Metropolitan Police reported that 126 arrests were made during the incidents, with the majority being linked to far-right football hooligans. Nine police officers were injured during the clashes.
While the pro-Palestinian march did not see the same level of violence, there were incidents of vile antisemitism, including a marcher holding a sign displaying a Jewish Star of David wrapped around a Nazi swastika. The police are currently searching for individuals seen wearing headbands supporting Hamas.
In response to the violence, Rishi Sunak described the actions of the perpetrators as 'despicable'. He emphasized that these actions undermine the peaceful expression of views and do not honor the Armed Forces. Sunak expressed his expectation that all criminal behavior would be met with swift and full force of the law.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, also condemned the antisemitic chants and expressed his shock at the rise of antisemitism in Europe. He called for unity in stamping out this ancient hatred.
The clashes sparked a political row, with Labour blaming Home Secretary Suella Braverman for inflaming tensions. However, Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith dismissed this claim as 'pathetic' and supported the Home Secretary's stance.
The Metropolitan Police reported that 82 people, who were part of a counter-protest, were arrested in Pimlico. There were additional incidents of violence and hate crimes reported throughout the day.
In his statement, Rishi Sunak stressed the need for accountability and the full enforcement of the law. He expressed his commitment to working with the Met Police Commissioner to address the disturbances.
Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist confirmed that nine officers were injured during the clashes and that arrests were made. He also acknowledged the significant impact of hate crimes, particularly antisemitic offenses, on London's Jewish communities.
Both Rishi Sunak and the Prime Minister praised the professionalism of the Metropolitan Police in handling the challenging situation and vowed to take a zero-tolerance approach against violent offenders and those spreading hate.