Jessica Green and Martin Robinson, Daily Mail, June 9, 2018
Supporters of Tommy Robinson have clashed with police at a Whitehall demonstration after hearing Dutch far-right MP Geert Wilders call for the English Defence League founder to be freed.
Rows of riot police blocked the gate down the Mall leading to Buckingham Palace where the Royal Family gathered on the balcony after celebrating Trooping the Colour just hours before.
Five arrests have been made and five officers were reportedly injured during the demonstration which saw some of Robinson’s supporters appear to throw bottles, metal barriers and traffic cones at police.
Wilders, 54, who was banned from Britain in 2009 only to get it overturned, has attended today’s protest after the EDL founder was jailed for 13 months.
Robinson pleaded guilty to contempt of court and breaching the terms of a suspended sentence he was handed last May for a similar offence.
His supporters have gathered in huge numbers at a series of protests outside Downing Street, Leeds Crown Court and even at British embassies in Europe.
More than 590,000 people have also signed a petition urging Theresa May to intervene and set him free.
Speaking at the demonstration Wilders said: ‘I am here to tell you that you will never walk alone. And we are here to tell the world, and the UK government in particular: “Free Tommy Robinson!”‘
‘At this very moment thousands of people are demonstrating all over the world in front of British embassies…all with one important message “Free Tommy”.
‘Downing Street is just around the corner, so maybe once again, as loud as possible we can let them hear our message: “Free Tommy Robinson!”’
This prompted extended chants of ‘Oh, Tommy’ while Wilders continued saying to the crowd: ‘Tommy Robinson is a freedom fighter. He says what no-one dares to say. He has guts. He has courage.’
A Met Police spokesperson said five arrests have been made at the protest as of 7.20pm on Saturday.
Two for allegedly assaulting a police officer, one for allegedly possessing an offensive weapon, one for allegedly possessing a flare and one for allegedly causing criminal damage to a bus.
Police have not revealed the identities of the people arrested.
The spokesperson added: ‘The protest held in Whitehall concluded at 17:00hrs today.
‘During the protest there were scenes of violence which saw bottles, metal barriers and other objects thrown at officers.
‘Five officers have reported injuries, which are not serious.
‘The Met will now launch a post investigation collating the CCTV in the area.’
Hundreds of supporters crowded on to an open-top Megabus sightseeing vehicle waving Union Jack flags, while one supporter posed on the roof in a Donald Trump mask.
Other Robinson supporters crowded on to the steps of Nelson’s Column and continued to chant slogans.
A spokeswoman for megasightseeing.com said: ‘Our London sightseeing bus was on its normal route when it got caught up in the demonstrations.
‘The bus was stormed by demonstrators and the driver and a small number of customers got off.
‘The demonstrators have caused a significant amount of damage to the bus which meant it had to be towed away.
‘We have reported this to the police and will help them with any investigations.’
Wilders compared Robinson to Winston Churchill ahead of the protest on Whitehall in London where he spoke to more than a thousand protesters.
He told Breitbart: ‘Tommy Robinson was arrested on May 25 outside Leeds Crown Court after using social media to broadcast details of an ongoing trial which was subject to reporting restrictions.
‘He was arrested, brought before a judge, and sentenced within five hours. The judge ordered a media ban on his arrest and imprisonment, even forcing British publications to delete their articles about the case.
‘Such measures are common practice in North Korea and Saudi Arabia. It is sad to see how Britain, the cradle of Western democracy and the rule of law, is fast descending into tyranny’.
He added: ‘Tommy is a hero. It is a disgrace that he is still in jail. I have been invited to a major protest demonstration in London next week, and I will be coming. Free Tommy now’.
Right-wing activists in America have also rushed to support Robinson, after restrictions ordered by a judge initially prevented his court case and jail term being reported.
A host of conspiracy theorists in the US then began claiming that he was imprisoned as part of a plot to silence the right.
Around 500 protesters chanted ‘let Tommy out’ at police officers outside Leeds Crown Court last week.
The march saw some of Robinson’s supporters brand police officers a ‘disgrace’, as chants of ‘you ought to be ashamed of yourselves’ broke out.
The event was organised by the group Proud British, which claims on Facebook that its purpose is to ‘voice freedom of speech’ and ‘stop the strain on the NHS, schools and our public services’.
On May 26 supporters flocked to Downing Street to demand the release of Robinson.
They waved ‘#FreeTommy’ and ‘Free the truth teller’ placards as others branded St George’s flags and banners with ‘Make Britain Great Again’ on them.
Some managed to mount the gates surrounding the Prime Minister’s home, but the Metropolitan Police told MailOnline there were no arrests made.
Robinson, 35, was jailed for 13 months on Friday May 25 for contempt of court after broadcasting on Facebook Live outside Leeds Crown Court — putting the major trial at risk of collapse.
The court heard how Robinson had filmed himself and people involved in the case, in footage that was watched around 250,000 times within hours of being posted.
Robinson, who was listed by his real name Stephen Christopher Yaxley-Lennon on court documents, was sentenced to 13 months in jail on the same day as his arrest.
Judge: If the jurors saw Robinson’s video I would be asked to discharge them
The judge who jailed Tommy Robinson told him his Facebook Live could have collapsed a six-week trial if the jurors saw it.
Mr Justice Marson QC said that Robinson had failed in his ‘responsibility to exercise freedom of speech within the law’.
Within five hours of his arrest Robinson was jailed for 13 months after pleading guilty to contempt in relation to an ongoing trial.
He also admitted breaching the terms of a suspended sentence he was handed in Canterbury last May for a similar offence.
Mr Justice Marson QC said: ‘No one could possibly conclude that it would be anything other than highly prejudicial to the defendants in the trial. I respect everyone’s right to free speech. That’s one of the most important rights that we have.
‘With those rights come responsibilities. The responsibility to exercise that freedom of speech within the law. I am not sure you appreciate the potential consequence of what you have done.
‘If the jurors in my present trial get to know of this video I will no doubt be faced with an application to discharge the jury. If I have to do that it will mean a re-trial, costing hundreds and hundreds and thousands of pounds.’
He was given 10 months in jail after pleading guilty to contempt of court, and an additional three months for beaching a previous suspended sentence.
Judge Geoffrey Marson QC told Robinson at the time: ‘Everyone understands the right to freedom of speech but there are responsibilities and obligations.’
He added that if the jurors had seen his Facebook Live he would have been asked to end the trial.
A reporting restriction had initially prevented the media from reporting his conviction, but this was lifted at the same court four days later after an appeal by the media.