Protest organised by Tommy Robinson and counter-protest to be held in London

Thousands of police officers will be on duty in central London on Saturday as a protest organised by Tommy Robinson and a counter-protest are set to take place.

Groups from across the UK linked to football disorder are expected to attend the event organised by Mr Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon, the Metropolitan Police said.

The protest will set off from the Victoria area at about 1pm, ending up in Parliament Square, where speeches will take place and a film will be shown.

Conditions have been imposed under the Public Order Act requiring all those taking part to form up in an agreed area, to follow a pre-agreed route and to remain in Parliament Square for the subsequent assembly. The conditions are in place to prevent serious disruption or serious disorder, the force said.

Mr Robinson posted a video on X in which he called for people to join him on the march and said it will be “massive”.

A static counter-protest, organised by Stand Up To Racism, will take place in Whitehall from midday.

Conditions have been imposed on that protest requiring those taking part to remain in the allocated area in Whitehall which is the section opposite Downing Street, adjacent to Richmond Terrace.

Stand Up To Racism posted on its website saying they will “stand together against attempts to divide us”.

The Met Police said officers will be deployed “in significant numbers” to ensure those in Parliament Square and those in Whitehall do not come together.

More than 2,000 police officers will be on duty on Saturday, policing the protests as well as the Champions League Final at Wembley and related fan events, the force said.

The Champions League Final, between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid, kicks off at Wembley at 8pm.

The Uefa Champions League Festival, which is taking place across five central London locations including Trafalgar Square, began on Thursday and is set to continue until Sunday. It will be open in Trafalgar Square between 11am and 5pm on Saturday.

T/Commander Louise Puddefoot said: “Officers have been in discussion with the organisers of both protests in recent weeks. Our priority is to ensure those exercising their right to lawful protest, both in the main march and as part of the counter protest, can do so safely.

The protest form up area for the protest organised by Tommy Robinson.
The protest form up area for the protest organised by Tommy Robinson (Metropolitan Police/PA)

“Officers will police these demonstrations, as they always do, without fear or favour – keeping participants and the wider public safe, and responding decisively to criminal offences and any attempt to cause serious disruption.

“While we are grateful to the main organiser of the protest for comments he has made publicly discouraging violence on Saturday, we do have concerns about the number of those believed to be attending who have links to football disorder.

“When these groups have come together at previous protests we have regrettably seen violence directed at officers. This precedent unavoidably plays a part in shaping the policing approach, including the number and nature of resources allocated to police this particular protest.

“We also understand why the concern goes beyond the potential for officers to be targeted. For some in London, in particular our Muslim communities, comments made by those associated with this event will also cause fear and uncertainty.

The route for the protest organised by Tommy Robinson.
The route for the protest organised by Tommy Robinson (Metropolitan Police/PA)

“All Londoners have a right to feel and be safe in their city, and we will take a zero tolerance approach to any racially or religiously motivated hate crime we become aware of.”

A third protest, likely smaller in size and unrelated to the above events, is expected to take place in central London on Saturday afternoon.

The organisers, Youth Demand, have threatened to take action in protest against the ongoing conflict in Gaza, and intend to occupy roads and bridges, the Met Police said.

There has also been limited promotion online of a potential protest march in the Finchley area, also against the conflict in Gaza.

The counter-protest area.
The counter-protest area (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Police have imposed conditions under the Public Order Act, so if protesters do gather they will be restricted to a static demonstration that will be required to take place at a location away from sites that will cause obvious fear and concern to Jewish residents, but that is still of importance to the protest organisers, the force added.