Yellow vest campaigner James Goddard was filmed being arrested in London on public order offences as violence broke out during anti-austerity protests.
Police confirmed that a man was arrested outside St James Park tube station today as activists took to the streets in a ‘gilet jaunes’ inspired march.
It is understood the arrest is in connection with MP Anna Soubry being harassed outside Parliament during live television interviews in College Green on Monday.
Goddard’s supporters, marching in London to demand Britain leaves the European Union, claim he was preparing to hand himself in at Holborn police station at midday.
Violence erupted as activists took to the streets of central London while police tried to contain crowds during the heated rally.
Yellow vest campaigner James Goddard has reportedly been arrested by police in London on public order offences
Footage captured Goddard being detained and taken into a police van as shouts of protest can be heard. Police have not confirmed what public order of offence charge the man was arrested on.
The Metroplitan Police said in a statement: ‘We can confirm that a man in his 30s was arrested at 11.42hrs on Saturday, 12 January outside St James Park tube station on suspicion of a public order offence.
A spokeswoman said the arrest related to an incident which took place in Westminster on Monday January 7.
‘He is currently in police custody and is being taken to a central London police station.’
The arrest happened as hundreds of people gathered ahead of a ‘yellow vest’ inspired anti-austerity march as they called for a national day of action today.
Protesters opposed to the government’s austerity programme and demanding a general election marched through the centre of the capital before rallying in Trafalgar Square.
Hundreds of protesters joined the crowds wearing yellow vests with slogans such as ‘Britain is Broken’ written on the back.
Clashes broke out between protesters and police officers, with some activists being detained on the ground during the scuffles.
Organised by The People’s Assembly Against Austerity, the demonstration called for for a general election.
Goddard’s supporters claim he was preparing to hand himself in at Holborn police station at midday
Temporary stalls lined the road up from Oxford Circus station, where organisations such as Stand Up to Racism and the Socialist Party were handing out leaflets and placards.
People carrying drums prepared to march and political songs were being sung and large trade union banners were being held up in the crowd.
National organiser Ramona McCartney said the protest was an attempt to ‘take back the political space taken up by Brexit’.
Ms McCartney said protesters also wanted to show ‘solidarity with the left and working class in France by wearing the yellow vests today’.
France has seen weeks of nationwide anti-austerity demonstrations by the ‘gilets jaune’ movement.
Addressing the crowd in Trafalgar Square, Labour’s shadow finance minister John McDonnell said eight years of austerity under the ruling Conservatives was ‘tearing apart the very social fabric’ of Britain.
He said: ‘We need a general election now to bring about the fairer, more equal society we all want to live in’.
Police officers tussle with Pro-Brexit demonstrators as they attempt to get into Trafalgar Square, London
Police officers detain a Pro-Brexit demonstrator in Trafalgar Square, London where a rally organised by the People’s Assembly Against Austerity are gathered
Clashes break out between activists as police try to contain crowds during protests in central London
People holding placards attend a demonstration in central London against austerity as they call for a UK general election
Protesters wearing yellow vests participate in pro-Brexit demonstration march in central London
Activists wearing yellow vest with slogans ‘English people look good in yellow’ as they took to the streets of London
A demonstrator wearing a yellow vest covers his face with a bandana during a protest to Westminster
The French protests began in mid-November over a proposed increase in fuel duties, and soon turned violent.
The leaderless movement appeared to be petering out at the end of 2018 but has since regained momentum, with weekly clashes seen in Paris and other French cities.
Britain has seen several small protests by Brexit supporters wearing yellow vests since November, but other activists have been slow to adopt the symbolic attire and movement.
Goddard, originally from Leicester, was in a gang of agitators that surrounded Tory MP Anna Soubry on Monday, allegedly calling her a ‘Nazi’ and a ‘traitor’.
He is a vocal supporter of Tommy Robinson and asks for online donations to support his ‘yellow vest’ campaign.
Goddard also allegedly abused Owen Jones, branding him a ‘communist bully’ and a ‘lying little toad’ whose ‘parents must be ashamed’.
An activist wears a vest with the slogan ‘Treason May has signed over entire British defence system to EU control’
Demonstrators wearing yellow vests make their way to Westminster today who were inspired by the ‘Gillet Jaunes’ or yellow vests in France
As people called for him and his supporters to be arrested he said he ‘has nothing to apologise for’ and said he has a right to abuse MPs.
He said that Ms Soubry had treated him and others ‘with contempt’ and ‘deserves’ the barracking she receives and said she ‘wasn’t verbally assaulted’.
He added: ‘Why is it ok for [the left] to say it yet the moment we say it we’re the ones who are branded things and they’re going to investigate us ?’
Since December the professional protester has been outside parliament where he has barracked MPs and journalists and also visited the ‘treacherous’ Labour Party’s offices in central London.
On his Twitter and Facebook accounts he encourages supporters to donate to him and ‘support my work’ via a PayPal account.
The 29-year-old from Leicester says that Halal meat should be banned and that no new mosques should be built in the UK to avoid Britain becoming a Muslim country in 50 years.
Demonstrators at the start of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity march and protest in London
Ms Soubry was pursued by an aggressive mob yesterday, including far-right activist Goddard (pictured left, next to Soubry) who shouted in her face and called her a ‘fascist’ as she made her way back to Parliament
Yellow vest campaigner James Goddard has been arrested by police in London on public order offences
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