Smoke bombs were set off and scuffles broke out between demonstrators near Downing Street today ahead of the visit of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
At least three people were arrested before his arrival today for a meeting at No 10 with Theresa May.
Anti-Erdogan protesters chanted “Turkey state, fascist state” and clashed with the president’s supporters as mounted police and extra officers, including some with dogs, were ordered to keep the two groups apart.
At one stage, officers were spattered with what appeared to be red paint.
Barriers kept the protest clear of the entrance to Downing Street and a police van parked between the crowd and the gates obstructed the protesters’ view.
Police filmed the demonstrators, some of whom were wearing scarves over their faces. A Kurdish group raised a giant banner bearing the word “#TAMAM”, Turkish for “enough”.
A demonstration earlier in the day, organised by the Kurdish Solidarity Campaign, saw a “#TAMAM” banner draped over the side of Westminster Bridge.
Meanwhile, a group of 70 Turkish nationalists waved the country’s flag in support of Mr Erdogan.
Earlier today, Mr Erdogan signalled he would tighten his grip on Turkey’s economy as the “indisputable head of the executive” if he wins a snap election next month.
He said the Turkish central bank would remain “independent” but would have to listen to his views.
Mrs May has been accused of cosying up to the president in a bid to strike a post-Brexit trade deal. Since a failed coup in 2016, 120,000 public servants have been sacked and 50,000 people detained. Presidential and parliamentary elections are due on June 24.
Downing Street insisted Mrs May will raise human rights issues.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “We have always been clear that we want Turkey to uphold its international obligations, including respect for freedom of expression and political freedoms.”