London police contain rival protests over soldier's killing

By REUTERS
June 1, 2013 18:27
1 minute read.

 
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LONDON - Police intervened to separate about 150 far-right protesters from a much larger anti-racism crowd in London on Saturday to stop them from coming to blows over the killing of a British soldier on a busy street last week.

A number of protests and counter-protests have taken place in the wake of the May 22 killing of Lee Rigby, a serving soldier and veteran of the war in Afghanistan, which the authorities are treating as a terrorist incident.

Michael Adebowale and Michael Adebolajo are now in custody on suspicion of killing Rigby. Adebowale has been charged with murder and possession of a firearm.

Small but noisy far-right groups have taken to the streets several times since Rigby's killing to express anti-Muslim views. Their actions have been widely condemned and police, politicians and religious leaders have appealed for calm.

The protest by the far-right British National Party (BNP) near the Houses of Parliament was dwarfed by a counter-demonstration by a group called Unite Against Fascism (UAF).

The BNP protesters held placards with the slogan "Hate preachers out", a reference to radical Muslim clerics they say should be deported from Britain. The UAF banners had slogans like "Free hugs", "Nazis out" and "Jobs and homes not racism".

Witnesses said there were some minor scuffles and they saw one man with a bloody nose, but police intervened quickly to keep the two sides apart.

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