The man who was pictured urinating next to a memorial for murdered police officer PC Keith Palmer has provoked outrage on social media.
Mr Palmer was stabbed to death while protecting others during the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack on 22 March 2017.
The man was one of the hundreds who gathered in Westminster on Saturday in a demonstration that descended into violent attacks on police officers.
Tobias Ellwood, the Tory MP and chairman of the Defence Select Committee who gave first aid to the dying police officer at the time of the attack, shared his outrage on Twitter.
Absolute shame on this man.— Tobias Ellwood MP (@Tobias_Ellwood) June 13, 2020
Of all the images to emerge over these few testing days I find this one of most abhorrent.
Please help identify him. pic.twitter.com/8ydcNmTWrN
The memorial plaque was erected outside the Palace of Westminster last February as a tribute to Palmer, who died defending Parliament in the attack.
At the time, then-Speaker of the House John Bercow said it would serve “as a lasting tribute to his dedication and his courage” and ensure visitors would “never forget the sacrifice and heroism of this brave British police officer.”
Over the weekend, several thousand activists responded to a social media call-out to “protect the monuments” in response to graffiti on the statue of Winston Churchill and the Cenotaph in London and the toppling of the statue of slave trading merchant Edward Colston in Bristol during the Black Lives Matter protests last weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, the demonstrators allegedly turned on police officers stationed to protect the monuments, with footage online showing bottles and cans being forcefully thrown at them.
A press photographer is believed to have suffered a broken nose in a confrontation with protesters and some journalists present, including the BBC’s Dominic Casciani, said media personnel were being threatened.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted, “Racist thuggery has no place on our streets.”
Racist thuggery has no place on our streets. Anyone attacking the police will be met with full force of the law. These marches & protests have been subverted by violence and breach current guidelines. Racism has no part in the UK and we must work together to make that a reality.— Boris Johnson #StayAlert (@BorisJohnson) June 13, 2020
Author Robert Bridgestock condemned the act as “straight-up criminal damage.”
Straight up criminal damage! Arrested, in custody? If not, why not? Beyond contempt. A thug in #London today to ‘save our country’ from people defacing memorials, urinating on memorial for #hero #PCKeithPalmer who died tackleing a terrorist - awarded a posthumous George Medal. 👇 pic.twitter.com/hQopUY0eMA— RC Bridgestock (@RCBridgestock) June 13, 2020
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said the incident was “beyond contempt”.
Beyond contempt...— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 13, 2020
One of the thugs in London today to ‘save our country’ from people defacing memorials - caught urinating on the memorial for hero PC Keith Palmer who died as he tackled a terrorist & was awarded a posthumous George Medal. 👇 pic.twitter.com/gYoylm0jXC
Another Twitter user described the act as a “disgrace to humanity.”
And a retired police officer called it a distressingly perfect metaphor for the times we live in.