Million Mask March Damage

MQT on 2014-11-19
Session date: 
November 19, 2014
Question By: 
James Cleverly
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


How do we prevent anonymous masked demonstrations from happening in London, such as the November 5th "Million Mask March"?


Answer for Million Mask March Damage

Answer for Million Mask March Damage

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes, absolutely.  The police do a fantastic job.  They have about 4,500 demonstrations a year, but when people are breaking the law and wearing a mask they must expect to have that mask removed and they cannot keep it on in defiance of the wishes of a police officer.  That is the legal position and I am glad it is.


James Cleverly AM:  Thank you.  I would be very happy to put on record that the police, both in that circumstance and more widely, did a very balanced and very effective job.  I happened to be in Parliament Square - not protesting, I have to confess - on that particular evening and I noted the police were very much conscious of keeping a convivial atmosphere as far as possible.  Do you share my concern that the vast majority of people who went on to that protest were intent on peaceful protest but by wearing masks made it a lot easier for our agents provocateurs and people who would commit crime?  It makes it a lot easier for them to get away with it by virtue of the fact they were masked up and we should encourage protesters not to hide their faces if they genuinely want to pursue peaceful protests.


Boris Johnson (Mayor of London):  Yes.  ‘Encourage’ is the right word.  It would be a bit difficult for us to say to people that they cannot wear masks when they are protesting at any stage.  The law is pretty clear.  They are obliged to remove their mask if a police officer requires them to do so and quite rightly.


James Cleverley AM:  Thank you, Mr Mayor.