Police have told those planning on joining Black Lives Matter demonstrations in London that they must be off the streets by 5pm on Saturday.
The Police have also vowed a “robust” response to any violence this weekend amid fears of clashes between anti-racism demonstrators and far-right protesters.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan urged people to stay away from a planned BLM protest scheduled for Saturday, warning that confrontations between anti-racism protesters and right-wingers could turn violent. He said that statues in Parliament Square have boarded up because of a threat from far-right extremists.
The Sun reports: Violent protesters have been warned they face being jailed within 24 hours as the Government prepares to “read the riot act”.
Justice secretary Robert Buckland has told magistrates to extend their opening times and sit through the night, as they did during the 2011 riots.
The measures come as fears mount over possible clashes between Black Lives Matter, football hooligans and far-right groups seeking to “defend” memorials in what police fear is a “perfect storm”.
To try and nip any scuffles between the groups in the bud, the Metropolitan Police has ordered any march and gathering to end by 5pm, with the BLM procession told to stick to a strict route.
A “patriotic unity” event has been organised at the statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square, which was vandalised during Black Lives Matter protests.
The statue has been boarded up along with the Cenotaph, which was also defaced during a Black Lives Matter demonstration.
Black Lives Matters organisers said they had decided to call off a planned protest at Hyde Park at 1pm on Saturday.
They warned “many hate groups” were threatening the safety of those planning to come.
On Friday a huge crowd gathered for an anti-racism demo in Hyde Park and marched past Buckingham Palace before hundreds converged on Trafalgar Square.
Hundreds of campaigners surrounded Nelson’s Column yesterday afternoon after walking from Hyde Park, as around two dozen police officers watched on.
Police officers were booed as they moved in to detain three Black Lives Matter protesters this afternoon – but later clarified they were “known activists” wanted over previous protests.
Around 20 officers moved through large crowds of peaceful protesters sitting on the grass to seize the demonstrators and escort them to nearby police vans.
It comes after the Prime Minister warned people to stay away from future Black Lives Matter demonstrations, predicting they would “end in deliberate and calculated violence”.
And London Mayor Sadiq Khan has pleaded with the public to stay at home.
Officers with full riot gear will be on standby this weekend “kitted up and ready to go” amid fears of potential clashes.
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