Central London came to a standstill this weekend, as far-right protestors took to the streets of the English capital. Incensed by the arrest and conviction of hate preacher Tommy Robinson (aka Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon aka Andrew McMaster aka Paul Harris) for contempt of court last month, his supporters are, as per usual, extremely angry.
Robinson, who is now serving a 13 month prison sentence, founded the English Defence League back in June 2009. The group is known for its Islamophobic rhetoric that has often turned violent, and the protest this weekend was no exception.
Hundreds of his far-right supporters congregated in and around Trafalgar Square on Saturday afternoon, donning Union Jacks and chanting nationalist slogans to express their discontent, both at multicultural Britain and at their leader’s arrest.
Robinson, 35, was sentenced on 29 May 2018, after broadcasting on social media about an ongoing trial at the court in Leeds.
The predominantly white and male crowd (who’d have thought it?) clashed with police officers in the hope of securing Robinson’s release from jail. Riot police blockaded an entrance to the Mall, while bottles, metal barriers and other objects were lobbed at police officers. There’s something a little bizarre, it has to be said, about a group of people who claim to care so deeply about “British values” taking to the street in an angry mob to protest a man being imprisoned for breaking British laws.
Photographer Theo McInnes headed down to document the rally.