Twelve people were arrested and at least five officers were “seriously injured” after clashes outside the Iranian embassy in London, the Metropolitan Police said, as protesters demanded an end to the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Five officers were hospitalized, some with broken bones, despite riot police equipped with shields and helmets brought in to “restore order among protesters and protect other officers,” according to the force.
The disturbance first broke out in the immediate vicinity of the embassy in Knightsbridge, before moving to Marble Arch and then to Maida Vale, where the Islamic Center of England was targeted, Scotland Yard said, adding that bricks, bottles and other projectiles were thrown.
Large and peaceful protests have taken place outside the embassy in recent days as widespread protests – sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in the custody of Tehran’s morality police – spread from Iran to countries around the world.
“While the majority of those who attended the embassy on Sunday continued to act responsibly, a significant group who arrived actively sought to confront officers and protesters from groups they did not agree with,” the Met said on Sunday evening.
Angry protesters were seen shouting and pushing officers who had formed a queue outside the embassy, with videos shared online showing violent altercations breaking out among those in the crowd.
A video showed two policemen wrestling to the ground a protester who appeared to have broken through the police line.
Crowds chanted “Death to the Islamic Republic” and waved Iran’s former national flag, before the 1979 revolution. Red paint was also thrown at the embassy.
By 7:30 p.m., the crowds had cleared from the area outside the Iranian embassy, but a few police officers remained outside the building. There was little sign of the scenes from earlier in the day, apart from a few battered posters, one with Amini’s photo and another with the message: “Stop the execution in Iran.”
Police cordoned off Kilburn Street, near the Islamic Center of England, with mounted officers reportedly behind lines of armored officers.
People stood peacefully in front of riot police lines, raising their fingers in peace signs and pictures of Amini above the crowd as they chanted her name, as well as “freedom for Iran,” according to The guardian.
More to come…