Tommy Robinson charged after arrest at march against antisemitism

Tommy Robinson has been charged after he was arrested and pepper sprayed by police at an antisemitism march.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed Mr Robinson, 40, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley Lennon, has been charged after being accused of failing to leave the march in central London on Sunday. He will appear in court in the new year.

In a statement, the force said: “Stephen Lennon, of Bedfordshire, has been charged with failing to comply with a section 35 direction excluding a person from an area.

“He has been bailed to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 22 January.”

Mr Robinson, who founded the English Defence League, was detained by dozens of officers near the Royal Courts of Justice, where the demonstration began, after march organisers said he would not be welcome. He has previously insisted he was attending the event, which saw tens of thousands flock to the capital, as a journalist.

He posted a video on social media of his partially closed eyes after officers used the synthetic pepper spray while still in police custody on Sunday.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: “The arrested man resisted as officers attempted to put him in handcuffs. He was warned repeatedly before PAVA spray was used.

“Following its use, officers gained control of him and handcuffs were applied.”

In an earlier statement, the force said organisers had “been clear about their concerns that the man’s attendance, and that of those who were likely to accompany him, would cause fear for other participants”.

“As a result he was spoken to and warned on more than one occasion that his continued presence in the area was likely to cause harassment, alarm and distress to others. He was directed to leave the area but refused to do so.”

Mr Robinson said he attended the march as a journalist and denied causing alarm or distress to others.