Fourteen police officers have been injured following violent protests in London last night, including one mounted branch police officer who was hospitalised after falling from her horse.
The officer’s horse bolted after a small group of violent protesters threw fireworks, rocks, bottles and a bike at police horses.
As the horse bolted, the officer fell to the floor with a significant amount of forces as she hit some traffic lights.
The government and police had ‘advised’ protestors not to engage in mass gatherings and to keep two metres apart to help stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus which has now taken over 40,000 lives; the second-highest death toll that has been reported by any government around the world.
A violent protester pushes a bike towards police horses in London
Officers had attempted to engage with protesters during the mostly peaceful event. Initially, only a small number of people were arrested for minor offences.
However, at around 19:00 hours in Whitehall, after the majority of peaceful protesters had left the area, the mood of the remaining crowd, who seemed to be intent on violence, quickly changed.
They began throwing missiles and flares at officers who were deployed outside Downing Street.
Officers in protective equipment were deployed to try and identify and arrest the individuals who had committed offences related to the serious disorder and to clear the remainder from the area.
An officer lays seriously injured on the ground after her horse bolted after protestors threw rocks, fireworks and missiles at police horses
In total, ten officers were injured as a result of the violence, including the officer from the Mounted Branch who fell from her horse as it bolted after fireworks were thrown at it.
The officer is still in hospital receiving treatment for her injuries.
The horse is safe-and-well after it made its own way back to nearby stables.
Superintendent Jo Edwards, a spokesperson for policing the demonstration, said:
“We understand peoples’ passion to come and let their voice be heard, they protested largely without incident.
“Our officers have been professional and very restrained, but there was a smaller group intent on violence towards police officers.
“Twenty-three officers have received injuries, doing their job, policing protest over the last few days, and that is totally unacceptable.
“There have been 14 arrests made today, but we expect that number to rise, and there will be a post-event investigation carried out.”
This is the second round of violent protests in London; In stark contrast to the peaceful protests in Birmingham, which took place earlier in the week and passed without incident.
Earlier in the week, a police officer was punched to the ground by a violent protester who had emerged from a hostile crowd to assault the officer before running off.
Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service, Cressida Dick, said:
“I am deeply saddened and depressed that a minority of protesters became violent towards officers in central London yesterday evening. This led to 14 officers being injured, in addition to 13 hurt in earlier protests this week. We have made a number of arrests and justice will follow. The number of assaults is shocking and completely unacceptable.
“I know many who were seeking to make their voices heard will be as appalled as I am by those scenes. There is no place for violence in our city. Officers displayed extreme patience and professionalism throughout a long and difficult day, and I thank them for that.
“I would urge protesters to please find another way to make your views heard which does not involve coming out on the streets of London, risking yourself, your families and officers as we continue to face this deadly virus.”
Many people have expressed their anger at the blatant disregarding of the COVID-19 social distancing rules which have been put in place to help save lives, with many healthcare professionals now fearing a second wave of COVID-19 patients.
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