Day of Rage London: Armed police form ring of steel at Parliament

Armed police formed a ring of steel around Westminster as part of a major security operation around a “Day of Rage” protest aimed at “bringing down the Government.”

Roads around Westminster and Buckingham Palace were closed to traffic as scores of officers lined Parliament Square ahead of the demonstration.

Sniffer dogs swept the area as large groups of activists were set to descend on central London in protest Downing Street against “brutal austerity, cuts and anti-immigrant attacks.”

Furious demonstrators will also take to the streets in reaction to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, a line of the protest some have condemned as “despicable”.


Police have made a ring of steel in the area ahead of the protest and the Queen’s Speech (Jeremy Selwyn)

Dramatic pictures from the scene show firearms officers with automatic weapons at key patrol points. Dozens of riot vans are parked on standby ahead of the event which will coincide with the Queen’s Speech.

All roads into Parliament Square were closed, including Westminster Bridge, with crash-proof barriers set up on each road leading to the square.

One barricade was set up at the beginning of Westminster Bridge next to Big Ben and another was put in place in Whitehall.

The demonstration is set to take place as Theresa May lays out her legislative programme for the next two years in the Queen’s Speech.


Armed officers were pictured in the area ahead of the events (PA)

Organised by Movement for Justice By Any Means Necessary (MFJ), the ‘Day of Rage’ demonstrators will march towards Parliament at 1pm.

Attendees have been urged to keep their activities peaceful, amid concerns that the disaster may be “hijacked” for violent means.

On the demo, shadow chancellor John McDonnell said: “To everyone planning on demonstrating against Theresa May’s Government over the next few weeks, it is vital that these protests are peaceful.”


Crash barriers were in place before demonstrators took to the streets (Jeremy Selwyn)

Volunteers at the Clement James Centre, who are working closely with those affected by last weel’s tragedy in north Kensington, have spoken out against the demo.

One charity worker, Howard Taylor, said: “I cannot emphasise enough how against this many of the affected residents I’ve spoken to are and they do not want their grief hijacked for any violent or destructive means. 

“They’re angry, they’re grieving but they are working to bring about positive change & action through conversations with the right people.”


Surrounding roads were closed as police descended on Parliament amid fears of violence at the protest (PA)

Conservative MPs have branded the alleged hijacking as a “despicable”.

Jacob Rees Mogg said: “Inciting a day of rage when Parliament reassembles after an election is an attempt to replace democracy and the rule of law with mob power. No democrat can support it.”

Organisers are seeking the permanent right to remain in the UK for all Grenfell Tower residents, and for survivors to take over unoccupied flats in Kensington and Chelsea.

The ‘Day of Rage’ demo is one of several expected to take place on Wednesday, with Stand Up To Racism holding a protest at 6pm.

London Socialist Party is also hosting a Facebook event called “May Must Go! Protest the Queen’s Speech” which is scheduled for 4pm.

Hundreds have indicated online that they will be attending the protests.

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