A protest in London seeking the release of anti-Muslim activist Tommy Robinson has turned violent. Hundreds are reported to be on the streets of the English capital in what was planned to be a “peaceful” event on June 9. By 4 p.m., reports came in that the protest had begun to turn violent.
In May 2018, Robinson, real name Stephen Christopher Yakley-Lennon, 35, was arrested and sentenced to 13-months in prison on the same day. Robinson was found guilty of contempt of court for broadcasting on Facebook Live, information about an ongoing trial in Leeds. Robinson was on a suspended sentence for a similar crime, reported the BBC at the time. The stream was viewed 250,000 times.
Here are videos from the scene of Robinson’s protest:
One video appeared to show a pro-Tommy Robinson protester giving a Nazi salute:
The London Evening Standard reported that counter-protests were also being set up by Stand Up to Racism and Unite Against Fascism.
A Facebook page for the protest, March for Tommy Robinson, says that 22,000 people were interested in attending and the 5,600 people were attending. The page description reads, “WE OWE TOMMY ROBINSON A GREAT DEAL, A MAN WHO PUTS HIS LIFE ON THE LINE TO BRING US THE PEOPLE THE TRUTH. HE WAS TAKEN FROM US BECAUSE HE EXPOSED THE TRUTH, WE WILL STAND SIDE BY SIDE ON THE 9TH OF JUNE 2018 SHOWING OUR SUPPORT FOR OUR BOY….. #FREETOMMY #4TOMMY #TOMMYSARMY.”
Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders was among the speakers at the event. He told the crowd that “They will never walk alone” and that they need to “tell the world, and the UK government in particular: Free Tommy Robinson!” Wilders went on, “At this very moment, thousands of people all over the world are demonstrating in front of British embassies, from LA to Sydney, and over half a million people have already signed the petition for Tommy.” Wilders concluded his remarks by saying, “My friends: long live Great Britain. Allow me, long live the Netherlands. Long live freedom. But most of all, long live Tommy Robinson.”
Another protest also took place in Belfast, Northern Ireland:
A planned protest in Newcastle for Robinson was canceled by authorities as it coincided with an Ed Sheeran concert taking place in the city. Speaking to the Newcastle Chronicle, a local police spokesperson said, “The organizers of two protests planned for Newcastle on Saturday have, following consultation with police, decided not to go ahead with the events.” The Newcastle protest was organized by a group known as the Northeast Frontline Patriots.
Though London remained the major flashpoint of the protests:
You can watch a live stream of the march here via Sputnik: