Police in the British capital fear a far-right protest over Brexit on Sunday will unleash some unprecedented levels of violence in central parts of the city.
The Metropolitan Police, known as The Met, said Saturday that the “Brexit Betraya”l protest planned by the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and top British far-right figure Tommy Robinson would turn violent despite restrictions already imposed defining on which areas the march could take place.
Met commanders said there was a high chance that far-right protesters and rivals would come into conflict in central London when they converge on the Parliament Square.
Hundreds of police officers will be deployed to the area to keep the two sides apart, authorities said.
Rights campaigners and activists have called for a huge counter-protest, saying the “Brexit Betrayal” will be merely a cover for the fascists and racists to intimidate ethnic minority groups in London.
The UKIP has scheduled the march to come ahead of a momentous vote on a European Union divorce agreement in the British parliament. The party, which was a key voice in the run-up to the 2016 Brexit referendum, has changed to adopt a more anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim tone in recent months. Its leader Gerard Batten recently appointed Robinson, the top Islamophobe in the UK, as an advisor, a move that sparked massive criticism and even caused UKIP’s founder and long-time leader Nigel Farage to quit.
Robinson, convicted several times in British courts over the past years, has been involved in organizing violent anti-Muslim protests in London and other cities. The highly divisive figure has repeatedly called for the purge of Muslims from Britain.
The Met said it will do its best to separate the two sides of the protests on Sunday, adding that any attempt to stir violence on the streets would be clamped down.