Sadiq Khan has warned Londoners to stay at home this weekend as anti-racism and far right groups are set to protest this weekend across London.
Khan is “extremely concerned” that demonstrations particularly by extreme far-right groups who “advocate hatred and division” may well lead to violence and disorder in the capital.
The Democratic Football Lads Alliance called (DFLA) have called on their 35,000 supporters to protect key statues and monuments in London.
Tommy Robinson who is the former English Defence League leader, has also given his support for counter protests and accused the police of being “soft handed” at the protests last weekend.
The Mayor of London said, “It is clear that the majority of the protesters have been peaceful. This moment must be a catalyst for systemic, lasting change to tackle the racism and inequalities that black people still face today, in this country and elsewhere.”
Khan added, “However, I’m extremely concerned that further protests in central London not only risk spreading Covid-19, but could lead to disorder, vandalism and violence.
“Extreme far-right groups who advocate hatred and division are planning counter-protests, which means that the risk of disorder is high.
“Be in no doubt these counter-protests are there to provoke violence, and their only goal is to distract and hijack this important issue.
“Staying home and ignoring them is the best response this weekend.”
The DFLA have called on all their members to “defend” London statues and war memorials to protect “our heritage.”
Black Lives Matter have published a list of 60 “racist statues” that they want to be removed, but DFLA leaders are urging their 35,000 plus supporters to “defend what our war heroes done for this country and their honour.”
It is expected that hundreds will meet at the Winston Churchill memorial whilst hundreds of others with gather at parts of Whitehall.
A statement posted on the Official DFLA Facebook page says, “We have had hundreds of messages in the last few days of people wanting to join us in protecting our heritage.”
Adding, “The DFLA are asking all our members to meet in Whitehall on Saturday 13 June at midday to protect our war memorials.
“This is not a march nor is it a counter-protest against Black Lives Matter.
“We will be making sure the war memorials don’t get desecrated.
“Enough is enough. It’s time to defend what our war heroes done for this country and their honour.
“This is not a counter protest against Black Lives Matter this a protection mission.”
Hope Not Hate chief executive Nick Lowles said, “their real objective” is simply violence.
Many football hooligan groups are also planning demonstrations, fans from Cardiff, Blackpool and Millwall have warned they will use force to prevent vandalism.
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh said, “We have got the perfect storm ahead of us this weekend, we have got planned protests and now Tommy Robinson and his agitators.”