This article originally appeared on VICE UK
If you'd only read Evening Standard and Daily Mail headlines about Saturday's pro-refugee march, you might think it was all centered on people "clashing with police" in central London. Really, thousands of people across Europe marched through their city streets to voice their support of refugees and migrants. In London, Labour MP Diane Abbott addressed the crowd after the rally had snaked its way from Portland Place to Trafalgar Square, while the likes of London mayoral candidate George Galloway and actress Vanessa Redgrave made their appearances.
But about those "clashes." The main Stand Up to Racism march was met by an anti-migrant counter-protest, staged by about 30 people affiliated with far-right group Britain First. They planted themselves in Piccadilly Circus, waving Union Jacks and signs reading "VETERANS BEFORE MIGRANTS," and were surrounded by a human shield of police officers when a faction of anti-fascists on the march started to make their way over to the counter-protest, shouting "fascist scum, off our streets."
No arrests were made, and our photographer Chris Bethell was there to check things out.