British police arrested 22 suspected members of a banned Islamist group on Friday during a protest outside the US embassy in London against the use of drones, Scotland Yard said.
The demonstrators were believed to be from the “Muslims Against Crusades” group, which was outlawed in Britain last month amid fears it would burn poppies during Armistice Day celebrations, sources said.
A spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police said it had arrested 20 people “for further investigation around being suspected of being a member of a proscribed group.”
“There were two further arrests, one for obstruction, one for violent disorder. They are currently in custody,” the spokesman said, confirming that the arrests were made outside the US embassy. A police source said the banned group was Muslims Against Crusades.
The Press Association news agency said the demonstration was held to protest against attacks by US drones targeting militants in Pakistan and that a number of demonstrators remained at the scene.
Britain announced on Nov. 11 that the Muslims Against Crusades group had been banned.
British Home Secretary Theresa May said at the time that the organization had already been proscribed under a number of names, including al-Ghurabaa and Islam4UK.
In response, the group said it was disbanding and also canceling a “Hell for Heroes” demonstration planned to disrupt ceremonies to mark Armistice Day on Nov. 11.
However, it said that the “call for Islam will never be silenced by any ban or proscription.”
At a protest in London on Nov. 11 last year, the group provoked anger by burning poppies and chanting “British soldiers burn in hell.”
Paper poppies are worn in Britain on Armistice Day, the anniversary of the end of hostilities in World War I, to remember the dead from the two world wars and later conflicts.