A statue of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill opposite parliament and the Cenotaph war memorial in central London were boarded up on Friday for protection, with three days of demonstrations are set to take place in the English capital.
The World War Two leader's statue on Parliament Square was sprayed with graffiti declaring Churchill a racist during a fractious end to a mostly peaceful demonstration on Sunday over the death of the US negro citizen George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Boarding has also been placed around the foot of the Cenotaph on Whitehall, where the government and royal family attend Remembrance Sunday events each year commemorating those killed in World War One and conflicts since then.
In response to the boarding up, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday it was absurd and shameful that a statue of Winston Churchill was at risk of attack by protesters. It is absurd and shameful that this national monument should today be at risk of attack by violent protesters, the British leader wrote on Twitter.
Yes, he sometimes expressed opinions that were and are unacceptable to us today, but he was a hero, and he fully deserves his memorial. We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history, he said, calling on people to avoid the protests planned this weekend.
It is clear that the protests have been sadly hijacked by extremists intent on violence.
Floyd's death has sparked protests across the United States and Europe and reignited a debate in Britain about monuments to those involved in the country's imperialist past.
Sculptures of slave traders have been taken down and local authorities have said they may remove a statue of the founder of the worldwide scouting movement, Robert Baden-Powell, to protect it.