Protesting his sentencing, supporters of far-right activst Tommy Robinson marched on London this weekend. Anti-fascist groups were there to meet them.

Protesting his sentencing, supporters of Tommy Robinson marched on London this weekend. Anti-fascist groups, determined not to let an emboldened far-right march unopposed, were there to meet them.

Last month, far-right activist Tommy Robinson – whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – was sentenced to nine months imprisonment after he was found to have committed contempt of court.

The 36-year-old founder of the English Defence League filmed himself confronting men accused of sexually exploiting young girls during a Facebook live-stream outside Leeds Crown Court in May 2018. Robinson was originally jailed for 13 months after being found in contempt on the day of the broadcast, before an appeal overturned the decision. However, following intervention from the Attorney General, fresh proceedings were eventually brought and he was sent back to jail.

By way of response, Robinson’s supporters congregated in London this weekend to express their dismay at the decision. Armed with chants – including the sharp and incisive, ‘We want Tommy out’, as well as the inspired, ‘Oh Tommy, Tommy!’ – they began at Oxford Circus before breaking the conditions set by the Metropolitan police and moving towards Piccadilly Circus, via Regent Street. A group also approached Downing Street, where they clashed with police.

Throughout, though, the Free Tommy crowd were met with counter-demonstrators, made up of anti-racist and anti-facist activists. Determined not to let an emboldened far-right march freely without opposition, the opposing crowds were kept apart by police. Huck photographer Theo McInnes was there to shoot both sides.

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