London’s Metropolitan Police have imposed a time limit on Saturday’s Black Lives Matter and right-wing protests expected to take place in the UK’s capital that means they will have to end at 5 p.m. local time (12 p.m. ET).
They have also imposed conditions on the route and area the protesters can use, to try to prevent the two groups clashing.
In a statement released Friday, Met Police Commander Bas Javid said:
“I absolutely understand why people want to make their voices heard – there is a really strong depth of feeling out in the communities, but the Government direction is that we remain in a health pandemic and people are asked not to gather in large groups. By doing so, you are putting your own safety, and that of your family or friends at risk. We are asking you not to come to London, and let your voices be heard in other ways.”
CNN has previously reported comments from Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick that her forces have “information that people are intent on coming to cause violence and confrontation" at BLM marches across London this weekend.
The UK’s official Black Lives Matter group distanced themselves from the protest that they had planned in central London on Saturday and asked demonstrators to march in their local areas.
UK anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate had warned about the possibility of violence from "football hooligans" and far-right groups at protests this weekend. "While the hooligans claim that they are coming to London to 'protect the war memorials' [it] is also clear from the racist comments of many that they also hope to confront BLM and anti-fascists," Hope Not Hate wrote in a statement on Monday.