Tensions ran high on Friday’s Brexit protest outside Parliament, thousands who attended the rally were expecting to be celebrating the UK’s departure from the EU.
With Theresa May’s latest defeat in the Commons yesterday people are left with even more uncertainty as May has now hinted at a general election.
Unlike last week’s peaceful #PeoplesVoteMarch Westminster went into chaos. Protestors were seen jostling with journalists and police, people turned on the press and were aggressive as they tried to push camera crews away from the crowd.
This kinda sums the leave March up to a T…. pic.twitter.com/oGMt16Hri1
— WorldsBestFan (@worldsbestfan) March 30, 2019
The Metropolitan Police said five arrests were made, one man was arrested under the suspicion on assaulting a police officer.
Friday lunch time thousands of marchers were seen heading from Fulham, past Battersea heading towards Parliament Square causing grid lock for drivers and commuters.
Gerard Batten the UKIP leader was joined by Tommy Robinson, the English Defence League founder on stage in Whitehall.
Robinson, who’s real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon said to the crowd you have been “betrayed,” he said, “Today is supposed to be our Independence Day.”
After the speech Robinson’s supporters headed to Downing Street chanting Robinson’s name and exchanged heated words with the police who were lined up guarding the gates.
— Hari Ramanathan (@ramsukpolitics) March 30, 2019
Armed police could be seen everywhere, and MPs and commuters felt unsafe as the crowds “accosted” people.
Joanna Cherry QC, the SNP MP for Edinburgh South West, said on Twitter, “Very relieved to be safely back to my base in London.
I “Was abused by trailing ends of the #LeaveMeansLeave protest as I walked home. Called a traitor.
“Told to go back to my own country. Such a contrast from #PeoplesVoteMarch last weekend #BrexitChaos.”
Very relieved to be safely back to my base in London. Was abused by trailing ends of the #LeaveMeansLeave protest as I walked home. Called a traitor. Told to go back to my own country. Such a contrast from #PeoplesVoteMarch last weekend #BrexitChaos
— Joanna Cherry QC (@joannaccherry) March 29, 2019
Lisa Nandy, the Labour MP for Wigan tweeted, “Today outside Parliament I and others were accosted by people shouting f****** traitor as we tried to get in to vote.
“Our staff were advised to leave the building for their own safety. There were armed police everywhere. This is not normal”
Today outside Parliament I and others were accosted by people shouting f****** traitor as we tried to get in to vote. Our staff were advised to leave the building for their own safety. There were armed police everywhere. This is not normal
— Lisa Nandy (@lisanandy) March 29, 2019
Given the peaceful protests last week it was perhaps, quite a bizarre statement Batten made on Thursday believing that the police “may” use water cannons.
Batten MEP said on Twitter, “There are reports that water cannon may be deployed tomorrow in London, & that some of the police may try to aggregate and provoke Brexiteers.
“There is always the danger of provocateurs planted to cause trouble.”
The UKIP leader added, “I hope it is not true, but I call on everyone present to be peaceful.”
However, the police were quick to respond to Batten saying, “Those reports are indisputably false.”
Scotland Yard were quick to hit out at Batten, as they dismissed his suggestions that a water cannon could be deployed at protests to “provoke Brexiteers” as “baseless and false.”
The Yard said, “We will always provide a proportionate policing plan to balance the right to peaceful protest, while ensuring that disruption to communities is kept to a minimum.”