Far-right protesters have clashed with police near the Cenotaph war memorial in London ahead of a pro-Palestinian demonstration, which is expected to be one of the biggest ever held.
A large mob of people carrying St George’s flags was seen walking along Embankment and shouting “England ’til I die”.
A line of police attempted to stop them from reaching Whitehall but the group pushed through, with some shouting “let’s have them” as officers responded with batons.
Bottles were also thrown at police by the counter-demonstrators, many of whom were wearing masks.
The confrontation happened shortly before the Armistice Day two-minute silence, when hundreds of people gathered at the Cenotaph to commemorate the UK’s war dead at 11am.
The service passed off without incident.
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also known as Tommy Robinson, the founder of the English Defence League, had called for his supporters to mass in the capital.
He was among the crowds along with former GB News presenters Laurence Fox and Calvin Robinson.
The Met Police posted on X, formerly Twitter: “While the two minutes’ silence was marked respectfully and without incident on Whitehall, officers have faced aggression from counter-protesters who are in the area in significant numbers.”
The force said it “will use all the powers and tactics available to us to prevent” the counter-protesters from confronting the main march calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war against the militant group Hamas.
There were later further clashes in Chinatown when missiles were thrown at police, while a “large group” were detained following trouble at Westminster Tube station.
The main pro-Palestinian demonstration, expected to be attended by 500,000 people, had drawn criticism from the prime minister and home secretary because it coincided with remembrance events.
Suella Braverman had faced accusations of inflaming tensions after accusing the police of “playing favourites” when they resisted pressure to ban the march pressing for a ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
In the face of condemnation and calls for Rishi Sunak to sack her, Mrs Braverman subsequently expressed her “full backing” for the Metropolitan Police at a meeting with Commissioner Sir Mark Rowley.
But in the wake of the trouble, London mayor Sadiq Khan wrote on X: “The scenes of disorder we witnessed by the far-right at the Cenotaph are a direct result of the home secretary’s words.
“The police’s job has been made much harder.
“The Met have my full support to take action against anyone found spreading hate and breaking the law.”
Scottish First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “The far-right has been emboldened by the home secretary. She has spent her week fanning the flames of division. They are now attacking the police on Armistice Day.
“The home secretary’s position is untenable. She must resign.”
More than 1,000 police officers have been drafted in from outside forces to monitor the march, with the Met saying 1,850 officers will be on duty on Saturday and 1,375 on Sunday.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor said: “Our job is to ensure that we police without fear or favour, that we balance the rights of everybody, be that protesters, counter-protesters, or people living or coming into London.
“And our job this weekend is to ensure that people are kept safe, and that is what my focus is on.”
Meanwhile, protests at a number of London train stations have been banned, with prohibition orders in place at Waterloo, Victoria and Charing Cross between 10am and 11pm on Saturday.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper, who approved the move, said: “Armistice Day is a moment of solemn national reflection in remembrance of those who have given their lives in service of our country. It’s important that people can use our rail network to safely travel, free from intimidation.”