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Police make arrests at Westminster protests

Police officers have arrested protesters close to the Houses of Parliament after members of an anti-fascist group refused to move.

The protest of what was believed to be the Unite Against Fascism (UAF) group had been due to take place Whitehall Gardens, at the junction with Whitehall.

But arrests were made after a police liaison officer tried to negotiate with the group - its members had moved to another location behind the Houses of Parliament, where the BNP were protesting.

Police lines outside the Houses of Parliament. Credit: ITV News / Martha Fairlie

A Met Police statement read: "From 12.50pm today a group of protesters, believe associated with the UAF counter protest, gathered in Abingdon Street junction with Old Palace Yard. This group reached 300 in total.

"Police attempted to negotiate with the group to move location to the pre arranged penned area in Whitehall."

At around 2.45pm officers began making arrests, while approximately 150 BNP continued to protest in Old Palace Yard, the police said.

BNP leader: Soldier's death won't be isolated incident

BNP leader Nick Griffin warned that the murder of soldier Lee Rigby would not be an isolated incident.

Mr Griffin said: "I believe that by being here today we have at least taken a step to taking the debate to where it needs to be.

"Not about whether the terrible murder of Lee Rigby was isolated, something which will never happen again.

BNP leader Nick Griffin at the protest today.
BNP leader Nick Griffin at the protest today. Credit: ITV News

"We're pointing out that it will happen again and again and again until the West disengages with Islam and they leave our country".

When asked about the BNP supporters being significantly outnumbered in Westminster today, Mr Griffin replied: "I think that a number of people who wanted to come have been turned away by the police.

"People have been attacked by the Far Left gang on their way in, so perhaps that has cut numbers".

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Lee Rigby's family appeal for 'calm' ahead of marches

Protest marches in the wake of the murder of soldier Lee Rigby are set to take place today, after his family appealed for calm.

Far-right and opposing groups are planning demonstrations amid increased tensions following the 25-year-old's violent death.

Yesterday his family stressed that the young soldier would not have wanted violent attacks to be carried out in his name, and urged protesters to remain peaceful.

We would like to emphasise that Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others.

We would not wish any other families to go through this harrowing experience and appeal to everyone to keep calm and show their respect in a peaceful manner.

– Drummer Rigby's family; his mother Lyn, stepfather Ian, wife Rebecca and son Jack

Events have been planned in various locations across the country by the English Defence League, and protest group Unite Against Fascism is due to hold a demonstration in Woolwich at midday.

Read: BNP to stage rally in London

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BNP to stage rally in London

The British National Party (BNP) will stage a planned march today between Old Palace Yard and the Cenotaph in Whitehall, Westminster.

In a statement issued on the party's website, it said party members are rallying to force the coalition government to act against Islamic hate preachers.

On Thursday, the Metropolitan Police denied the political party permission to march from Woolwich Barracks to the Lewisham Islamic Centre following the death of soldier Lee Rigby.

The authorities said a rally in Woolwich would inflame "current community tensions".

Read: Controls imposed for BNP march

Regiment attacks groups for 'exploiting' Lee Rigby

The regiment of the murdered soldier Drummer Lee Rigby has called it "wrong and disgraceful" that members of organisations have allegedly seized on his death as a reason to hold rallies.

A statement on the Facebook page of the Fusiliers Association North East reads:

It is wrong and disgraceful that the death of one of our own should be exploited in this manner and that dishonour, by wrongful association, is brought onto the Regiment.

We are to remain dignified with our heads held high and respect Fusilier Rigby in the way we have all our dead; with honour and pride.

We will pay our respects in the correct manner and remember him as a band of brothers.

Anger and revenge are understandable emotions but they achieve nothing other than fostering hatred. We are not to be moved from what we know is the right path.

– I R Liles OBE Brigadier (Retd)

In a separate message circulated to all regimental associations by Army HQ, soldiers are warned against "wearing regimental headdress or accoutrements" if they attend protests.

It says that soldiers "may not recognise the threat to the Army’s reputation if they are perceived to be supporting the EDL’s inflammatory agenda".

Read: Charity rejects EDL fundraising

Police BNP march controls due to 'community tensions'

The Metropolitan Police have denied the BNP permission to march from Woolwich to the Lewisham Islamic Centre on Saturday. They have been ordered instead to march along Whitehall in central London only.

  • Instead of marching from Woolwich Barracks to the Lewisham Islamic Centre the route will take place between Old Palace Yard and the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
  • The BNP march and rally must take place between 1300 and 1600 on Saturday.
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