‘Shameful’: Man pictured urinating beside memorial for officer killed in attack
A man has been pictured urinating next to a memorial for PC Keith Palmer, who was stabbed to death during a terror attack in Westminster.
Home Secretary Priti Patel described the act, which police are investigating, as "appalling and shameful" – and criticised the "extreme thuggery" of those who descended on Parliament Square.
Several hundred demonstrators, some of them from far-right groups, were claiming they wanted to protect statues from vandalism.
Ms Patel said: "We have seen a small minority behave in extreme thuggery and violent behaviour.
"That is simply unacceptable and the individuals that are basically putting the safety of our police officers and the safety of the public at risk will expect to face the full force of the law.
"We have seen some shameful scenes today, including the desecration of PC Keith Palmer's memorial in parliament, in Westminster Square, and quite frankly that is shameful, that is absolutely appalling and shameful."
PC Palmer was killed in 2017 by Khalid Masood, a terrorist who stormed the gates near parliament after killing four pedestrians with his car on Westminster Bridge.
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Tobias Ellwood, an MP who gave first aid to the policeman as he was dying, told Sky News he was "absolutely horrified" at the image of the man urinating – "along with many people across the country".
He said: "We're quite rightly having a long and hard debate about our complex history and how we should confront it, but to see these violent clashes taking place, to see these far-right groups come to London and claim to protect our statues and then actually treat one of our monuments in this way, for a fallen officer who was actually defending the most iconic symbol of democracy in the world, is absolutely shocking."
Mr Ellwood called for the man to come forward and apologise, saying "he's not a patriot, he's an embarrassment to Britain".
He added: "We should make it very, very clear that this is not who we are."
Mr Ellwood earlier posted the photo on Twitter, also writing: "Absolute shame on this man. Of all the images to emerge over these few testing days I find this one of most abhorrent. Please help identify him."
Metropolitan Police Commander Bas Javid said: "We are aware of a disgusting and abhorrent image circulating on social media of a man appearing to urinate on a memorial to PC Palmer.
"I feel for PC Palmer's family, friends and colleagues. We have immediately launched an investigation, and will gather all the evidence available to us and take appropriate action."
Bottles, smoke bombs, bottles and punches were hurled at police during Saturday's unrest.