Man jailed for attack on police at London protests – BBC News

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Police formed a barrier in front of anti-racist protesters near Leicester Square

A protester has been jailed after charging at police officers during an anti-racism rally in London.

James Meikle, 39, was filmed laughing following the “completely unprovoked attack” on Bear Street, near Leicester Square, on 13 June, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Meikle pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting emergency workers and told the court he been drinking that day.

He was sentenced to six months in prison.

The court heard Meikle, who has British and South African passports, had come to England in February.

He lived in north Devon in an attempt to overcome problems with alcohol and drug abuse.

On the day of the assault, he had gone to Heathrow Airport to catch a flight back home to South Africa.

However, he decided to attend the protest when he discovered he could not buy alcohol at the airport and travelled into central London to begin drinking.

He intended to catch a flight back to his homeland later that day.

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Hundreds of protesters gathered outside Parliament on 13 June, claiming they were protecting statues from anti-racism activists

Groups including some far-right activists congregated in the capital on 13 June. Counter protests, including Black Lives Matter groups, were organised nearby but kept separate by police.

After the attack Meikle told police he “wanted to see if he could get through [the officers], it was a symbolic action”.

Judge Sally Cahill QC said: “At the time these officers were standing quietly not engaging with other people, simply carrying out their duties.

“What is clear is that from quite a substantial distance you came at them at a run.”

She said that despite being told to stay back, Meikle had continued “until eventually you barged into them”.

She added that it was fortunate neither of the officers had “any substantial injuries”.

Jailing Meikle, the judge said: “These offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”