Thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square today after marching through central London in the pouring rain against racism and police brutality.
Dozens of activists wearing face coverings and waving signs reading “Enough is Enough” were seen making speeches in Trafalgar Square.
One speaker said the fact they had turned up despite the weather shows “genuine commitment” and urged the supporters to continue their demonstrations.
The demonstrators were urged to “stay calm” if they encountered any counter-rallies as they marched from Hyde Park.
Leaders of the march told others involved to make their demonstration “peaceful” and to not join any anti-racism rallies planned for the weekend, fearing violence would damage their cause.
Hundreds of campaigners surrounded Nelson’s Column before 5pm after walking from Hyde Park, as around two dozen police officers watched on.
They marched behind a van branded with the clenched fist emblem, holding up traffic along the way.
In Hyde Park the racial justice protesters chanted, held banners and performed a two-minute silence to raise awareness of black people oppressed around the world, during which they raised a clenched fist in the air.
At one point, around 20 police officers moved through large crowds of peaceful protesters sitting on the grass to seize a pair of demonstrators and escort them to nearby police vans.
The officers were booed as they moved to detain the two Black Lives Matter protesters.
Two men arrested by a swarm of officers were wanted for unrelated matters, City of London Police has said.
Footage of the arrest, which was undertaken by about a dozen Met Officers on behalf of City of London Police, was circulated on social media.
A spokeswoman for City of London Police said: “The individuals arrested by the Metropolitan Police today are wanted by the City of London Police for matters unrelated to their activity at any of the Black Lives Matter protests.
“As it is an ongoing police investigation we can’t provide any more details.”
Friday’s protest came after BLM London organisers cancelled protests planned for today and Saturday due to fears Right Wing groups would infiltrate the protests.
They also said poor planning and a lack of consideration for public safety was why they were advising protesters not to attend the scheduled events.
The Democratic Football Lads Alliance called on supporters to travel to London to protect monuments after a number were vandalised in recent protests.
Last weekend saw demonstrators clash with police in London, while in Bristol a statue of slave trader Edward Colston was pulled down and dumped in the city’s harbour.
Metropolitan Police said it was ready to tackle violence directed at police or property following disorder at anti-racism protests last weekend.
Commander Bas Javid said: “We will learn from what happened last weekend. It’s accepted that a very, very small minority of people were intent on causing and engaging in violence.
“We absolutely don’t condone that, violence of any kind, particularly against police officers, particularly against property, and we’ll be ready for that.”
Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford said he agreed with the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that protesters should stay at home.
“I always said that I completely understand and share the outrage that underpins the Black Lives Matter protests,” Mr Drakeford said.
“But there are ways in which people can make their concerns known that do not involve breaking the law and putting yourself and other people in danger from coronavirus.”