LONDON: A man suspected of urinating beside a memorial to an officer slain in a 2017 terror attack was charged Sunday with “outraging public decency”, London police said.
The 28-year-old was arrested by the Metropolitan police on Saturday after presenting himself at a police station in Essex, northeast of London, following protests in central London.
The Met had launched an investigation after a photo posted on social media appeared to show a man urinating next to the memorial to Keith Palmer, the police officer killed in the 2017 terror attack outside parliament.
The urinating incident is thought to have occurred Saturday during violent clashes involving self-styled “patriots” backed by far-right groups who had gathered to counter anti-racism protesters in central London.
Police said Sunday they arrested 113 people in total, for a range of offences including violent disorder and assault on officers, while 23 officers suffered minor injuries.
Television footage showed some agitators throwing punches, bottles and smoke bombs at officers, as well as scuffling with rival protesters supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
Those assembling said they were there to guard statues and memorials vandalised during recent anti-racism protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in the US.
Met Commander Bas Javid called the violent scenes “utterly shocking”.
“Mindless hooliganism such as this is totally unacceptable and I am pleased arrests were made,” he said, commending officers’ “enormous bravery”.
“We will now work closely with the courts in pursuit of justice.”
The image of the urinating man also drew widespread condemnation, with Conservative lawmaker Tobias Ellwood – who gave first aid to Palmer as he died – calling it “abhorrent”.
“Absolute shame on this man,” he said on Twitter.