Home Secretary Priti Patel has condemned the “hooliganism and thuggery” of Black Lives Matter supporters who have assaulted police officers and attacked statues and war memorials in recent months.
“This Government will always defend the right to protest,” said the Conservative MP, who heads the Home Office — the government department which is responsible, broadly speaking, for border control, law enforcement, and national security — at the Conservative Party conference.
Protest, Patel said, is a “fundamental pillar of our democracy — but the hooliganism and thuggery we have seen is not. It is indefensible.”
— Conservatives (@Conservatives) October 4, 2020
“There is no excuse for pelting flares at brave police officers, for throwing bikes at police horses, for disrespecting the Cenotaph or vandalising the statue of Sir Winston Churchill, one of the greatest protectors of our freedoms who has ever lived,” she said, referring to a number of incidents at Black Lives Matter demonstrations in which a mounted policewoman was seriously injured when her horse bolted, the Cenotaph war memorial was desecrated and an attempt made to set the flag adorning it on fire, and Sir Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square repeatedly vandalised.
“It is not acceptable for mobs to tear down statues and cause criminal damage across our streets,” Patel continued, likely in reference to the destruction of a historic statue of Edward Colston, a once-esteemed Christian philanthropist and former parliamentarian who has been demonised for business links to the slave trade in recent years.
“And it is not acceptable for thugs to assault our police officers, just for doing their job,” she added.
Protester Tries to BURN Cenotaph Flags at BLM London Demo https://t.co/OYrczjHg4o
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 8, 2020
Despite the tough rhetoric, however, few people involved in Black Lives Matter demonstrations in Britain have been seriously pursued or meaningfully punished, either for lockdown violations, vandalism, or attacks on the police.
Indeed, the only high-profile individual to have received swift and severe punishment for anything approaching vandalism was a counter-protester who urinated beside a small memorial to PC Keith Palmer, slain by a radical Islamic terrorist in 2017, apparently by accident.
Patel also said that police officers had the “backing of the Government, backing of our party, our Government, and our Prime Minister” — but the once-strong relationship between the Conservative Party and law enforcement has weakened greatly due to the increasing dominance of “woke” university-trained left-liberals in the senior ranks, as well as an antagonistic relationship between the Home Office and police representatives during Theresa May’s leadership of the department and years of drastic cutbacks.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 19, 2020