Updated: Jun 16, 2020
This is what British heroes look like:
Yesterday, June 13th clashes erupted in our capital as a small minority of violent elements from Black Lives Matter, came into contact with a number of far-right groups and football hooligans who had hijacked a peaceful march by British war veterans.
The scenes which ensued have dominated front pages, television news and social media feeds since. An image of a man, who has since handed himself in for arrest, urinating on the memorial to PC Keith Palmer, who died fighting a terrorist, are as abhorrent as is imaginable. Similarly, sporadic violence took place at Waterloo station, Hyde Park and elsewhere both between rival groups and against the police, leaving a number hospitalised.
However, if we look away from the tragedy, there is hope, embodied in two men, who represent the vast, peaceful majority:
Patrick Hutchinson was taking in part in the Black Lives Matter protests when he came across a man being beaten severely. Patrick himself has said that this man’s life was under threat.
Some have claimed the man he saved was far right, though as of yet no evidence to support this exists, as the Daily Mirror reports: “It remains unclear who the white man in the photograph is, but witnesses including Reuters journalists said he had been participating in the rallies.”.
WATCH: Hero Patrick Hutchinson Gives His Account of What Happened
Whether a bystander, a veteran, or a thug, that Patrick stepped in to save him is testament to his bravery, and his clear sense of right and wrong. That his story has since gone viral indicates the vast majority want to see cooperation, not combat. He risked his safety to save a man whose intentions he didn’t know, and at this point remain unclear, which makes Patrick's action all the more impressive.
The Paratrooper pictured here, identified as such by the trademark red beret used his own body as a shield for the police, who came under attack from football hooligans and far right thugs.
Paratroopers, or Para’s are “Trained to deploy on the frontline or behind enemy lines by parachute, helicopter or land”. Given this you can tell the individual pictured is unfazed by the yobs standing before him.
A number of Paratroopers took part in the London demonstration, and for their part did so entirely peacefully, only stepping in to defend the police, as pictured. British Military discipline and respect was on full show here, and they did themselves proud, in spite of attempts by thugs to derail their march to The Cenotaph.
The Bigger Picture
Let’s not allow the discourse to be dominated by a small number of violent clashes in London. Across the country protests took place, many involving veterans guarding memorials, and BLM activists holding peaceful protests. Both the commitment to justice for George Floyd, and the sense of duty which leads veterans and well wishers to guard memorials are admirable causes. We should lend our support to both; just like these men did.