Bagpiper shoved to ground by police while trying to play at Remembrance service

  • london
  • November 9, 2020
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A police officer has sparked outrage after he was filmed pushing a military piper to the floor during a Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph – though it has since emerged he was provoked.

The veteran was seen marching towards a line of police guarding the memorial in central London where a scaled-back ceremony was being held.

As he does, a masked officer shoved him away from them, causing him to stumble and fall backwards.

There were immediate shouts of ‘disgrace’ and ‘disgusting’ while people in the crowd started swearing at him.

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However, footage has emerged of him admitting he wanted to provoke a reaction from police.

Now identified as Ben Buckland, a Scots Guards veteran from Romford and an ex-UKIP candidate, was filmed saying: ‘Sometimes you have to sometimes create to get what you want,’ as he admits, ‘I actually did it. I provoked them.’ 

It comes as a number of people headed to the Cenotaph, and other memorials across the country, to pay respects to those who died in the world wars despite the Government urging the public to stay away during England’s second lockdown.

In the new footage, Mr Buckland – who was wearing a kilt and a military beret – said: ‘I actually did it. I provoked them. 

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‘They did actually do it [push him] but in my training if you want to get what you want and if you want things to happen then sometimes you have to sometimes create to get what you want.

‘Do you honestly think I give a f**k about being thrown over? I don’t. 

‘It’s all in the movement right. Because all I was doing was turning. It only takes a few inches to be closer to them to make them react.’

Mr Buckland stood for a seat as a UKIP councillor in the London Borough of Havering in 2018, but lost after getting just 479 votes from locals.

He served in the Scots Guard division of the British Army throughout the 1990s, before working in security jobs and going on to set up anti-poaching unit Animal Guards in 2015.

The piper is a long-serving member of the UKIP Party, having played the bagpipes atop the party’s election battle bus during the London mayoral election in 2008. 

After being pushed in the original footage, Mr Buckland said: ‘I tried in my speech down the road to support the Metropolitan Police – I did.

‘And what do we get? They attack us. This is a police state. What do we get from them? Violence. Violence. They’re the violent ones.’

Other witnesses are heard urging the police to ‘take a knee for the fallen’ and yelling ‘this is Germany’ in outrage at the incident. 

Mr Buckland’s reference to a ‘speech down the road’ appears to be a reference to an earlier video shared on Twitter.

He was previously filmed shouting at the police: ‘We have the workers of state barricading us from showing our respects for our fallen comrades.

‘I didn’t come here for a fight – I’ve done enough of that in the past – and no one else did.

 ‘We’ve come here to respect our friends, brothers in arms and also the fallen that we didn’t even know.

‘And yet the state, the state, the state tells us that we cannot!’

The Met said it would be looking at what happened ‘in a wider context’.

A spokesperson for the Met Police said: ‘Police are aware of a video circulating online which shows an officer using force after a man had tried to enter a restricted area in Whitehall SW1.

‘The actions of the officer will be looked at in the wider context of this incident.

‘The man had previously been asked to wait while the restricted area was opened up and he would be able to attend the Cenotaph.

‘The road had been closed off as the Remembrance Sunday event this year was a closed ceremony due to Covid-19 restrictions.

‘The area has since been opened up and members of the public can now go on their way.’

Members of the Royal Family joined Boris Johnson and the armed forces in a scaled-back service at the Cenotaph, which this year was closed off to the public for the first time.

Around 10,000 veterans would normally pay their respects there, but this year there were just 26 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Prince Charles laid the first wreath on behalf of the Queen, followed by Captain James Boughey, who laid a wreath on behalf of Prince Philip. The Duke of Edinburgh has retired from public royal duties.

Charles then left his own floral tribute, followed by Prince William, Princess Anne and Prince Edward.

The Queen, dressed in a black hat and coat, looked on from a balcony at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office building.

The Duchess of Cambridge and Duchess of Cornwall stood on a separate balcony, and the Countess of Wessex and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence watched from a third.

Prince Andrew did not take part in the event, having stepped down from official royal duties due to his friendship with convicted paedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

Former prime ministers Sir John Major, Tony Blair, David Cameron and Theresa May were also in attendance, along with current Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

The barricade was removed after official ceremonial proceedings had been completed, and the public were allowed to approach the Cenotaph at a social distance as police looked on.

Millions of people across the UK instead privately paid their respects from home, while others did head to their local war memorials for socially-distanced ceremonies.

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