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A union chief was left bloodied and beaten in an “unprovoked attack” by supporters of jailed far-right leader Tommy Robinson and US president Donald Trump as tempers flared following a day of protests.
Steve Hedley, senior assistant general secretary of the RMT, addressed a counter-protest to a rally in support of Trump and Robinson on Saturday.
But the union chief says he was among a number of people assaulted at the Westminster Arms pub in central London in a “targeted attack”.
Speaking on social media with blood still visible on his head, Hedley said: “We got attacked by a load of thugs, completely unprovoked.
“We defended ourselves obviously and there were a lot of casualties on both sides. But it was a completely unprovoked attack – we were just sitting there having a drink.
“If you oppose Tommy you get attacked by a glass and a chair – we have to stop this.”
He described the thugs as being from the English Defence League, which Robinson used to lead.
Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – was jailed for 13 months in May after admitting contempt of court after filming people involved in a criminal trial and broadcasting footage on social media.
One witness, who asked not to be named, said: “They (the attackers) knew what they were doing.”
Smashed glass was strewn across the pavement outside the establishment on Storey’s Gate, and pictures showed Hedley with a bandaged head and bloodied face.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “A group of RMT members who had been involved in a peaceful protest in central London have been subjected to a cowardly and unprovoked attack by fascist supporters of Tommy Robinson.
“A number of our members and officials have sustained injuries and the union is providing full support to those caught in this despicable act of pre-meditated violence. ”
Scotland Yard feared violence ahead of the rally in support of Trump, who is currently in the UK, and 35-year-old Robinson.
The march to Downing Street was kept at a distance from the counter-protest in Parliament Square, the day after an estimated 100,000-plus rallied through London in opposition to the US president.
The Metropolitan Police said Trump supporters were due to leave the US Embassy and meet Robinson fans on the way to Whitehall, but ordered both must depart Temple Place and follow a strict route after “serious violence” at a June 9 march resulted in five officers being injured.
A small group on Saturday breached the order by starting at the US Embassy, pictures on social media showed.
Images also showed minor clashes between supporters and opponents in Parliament Square, and officers at the scene said cordons had been bolstered after breaches from the right-wing group.
A London Ambulance Service spokeswoman said one person was taken to hospital after attending Storey’s Gate at 4.15pm.
The force said a total of 12 people have been arrested as part of the demonstrations.see source