There were scuffles on Saturday in the UK capital, where far-right groups had traveled saying they wanted to “defend” statues and memorials.
Police had designated separate zones in central London for the two factions and ordered all protests to end by 5 p.m. (1600 GMT), in a bid to avoid clashes between the groups.
In preparation for the demonstration, statues of wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill and the Cenotaph war memorial were both boarded up in a bid to avoid them becoming flashpoints for violence. Both monuments had been vandalized the previous week.
Authorities also fenced off other statues in Parliament Square, including memorials to Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln.
The Black Lives Matter group in London had earlier called off its official demonstration planned for Saturday over concerns over safety and planning.
Recent anti-racism and Black Lives Matter protests around the world have protesters target statues that some claim serve to glorify imperialist and racist episodes of history.
Metropolitan Police Commander Bas Javid said he understood “why people want to make their voices heard – there is a really strong depth of feeling out in the black communities.”
‘Black and Indigenous lives matter’
Protesters turned out in other major cities around the world on Saturday as part of the Black Lives Matter movement and to demonstrate against police brutality and racism.
In Paris, where thousands gathered for a demonstration against racism and police violence, officers fired tear gas.
In cities around Australia, people marched in support of the Black Lives Matter and indigenous rights movements.
The biggest demonstration took place in Perth, the Western Australia state capital, where the Australian Broadcasting Corporation estimated that 5,000 people gathered, despite the lack of a city council permit.
Around 1,000 protesters gathered in City Park in Darwin – capital of Australia’s Northern Territory.
It has the highest proportion of Aboriginal people of all the nation’s state capitals.
“They told us not to come. They told us to be silent. We will not be silent,” said Hannah McGlade, a human rights lawyer and activist, who is calling for an independent investigation into indigenous deaths in custody.
Taiwan’s Black Lives Matter rally also had an indigenous twist. Around 500 people packed into central Taipei in a show of solidarity for George Floyd and to listen to indigenous Taiwanese people – who make up 3% of the island’s population – discuss discrimination such as landlords refusing to rent them property.
DW correspondent William Yang posted photographs showing hundreds of protesters holding signs of solidarity.
Kmm/rc (dpa, AP) (DW)