A photograph of a Black Lives Matter supporter, in London, carrying an injured rival protester to safety, after he was beaten up in clashes, went viral on Twitter today. Calling it a “significant moment”, several Twitter users shared the photograph that was taken by a Reuters journalist, Dylan Martinez, who was at the scene. Many applauded the fact that animosity was briefly set aside for this “act of humanity”.
Sharing one of the viral photos, tweep @LaurenJTownsend said: “Easily my favourite photo of the day. A BLM protestor carries a far-right ‘counter-protestor’ to safety as fighting breaks out in Waterloo, London. Tell me again how ‘both sides are the same’. They’re not, they never have been and they never will be. This image will become iconic.”
The man who was hailed by many tweeps, is apparently a personal trainer named Patrick Hutchinson, who later took to Instagram to claim he was the person who helped the opposition protester, and wrote: "We saved a life today".
The father-of-two, wrote: "It's not black versus white, it is everyone versus the racists. We had each other's back and protected those who needed us."
Earlier in the day there were clashes between anti-racism groups and far-right activists.
Reportedly, the man, identified as part of the pro-statue supporters, was seen lying on the ground with blood on his face outside Waterloo Station. A black man - thought to be part of the opposing group - picked him up and took him safely to a line of cops trying to control the tensions.
Reuters journalists at the scene said that the man had been set upon on the steps leading to the Royal Festival Hall in central London and badly beaten, before other protesters stepped in to protect him.
The viral pictures show the injured man clutching his head as a black man carried him over his shoulders, flanked by police in riot gear. The BLM activist, wearing gloves and a facemask, carefully carried the man in shorts and a t-shirt as he shielded his face and other protesters moved aside.
Tweep @80_mcswan posted: “I hope the injured Right Wing protestor is okay, and uses this moment to turn his life around away from racism and hatred.”
A number of people, also believed to be part of the counter movement, appeared to be protecting the injured man's head, and making a path for the pair through the crowd.
The man who carried the other to safety was hailed online - with one person saying the image was "so powerful and hopeful", and another writing it was the "image of the day".
BLM protesters were reportedly trying to get through police lines to take on the counter group - who had gathered earlier to defend London monuments before some turned on cops. Crowds of pro-statue campaigners, reportedly, hurled bottles at police and were filmed attacking them.
According to reports, later in the day, as they moved towards Waterloo Station the group clashed with a crowd of BLM supporters. As the protests continued past the 5pm curfew, cops were seen standing guard outside the station in full riot gear. Flares and smoke bombs were thrown between groups and scraps broke out.
During clashes outside the station a number of pro-statue protesters were left bloodied, and a number of people from both sides were detained.