EVERYBODY in this country has a right to peaceful protest.

However, nobody has the right to desecrate war memorials, urinate on statues or fight with the police.

Sadly, the last two weekends have witnessed disgraceful scenes in London, with the violence and disorder increasingly spreading to other towns and cities.

The Northern Echo: Protesters clash in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London. Picture: PA WireProtesters clash in Whitehall near Parliament Square, London. Picture: PA Wire

There are lots of well-meaning people supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, just as there are lots of people with passionately-held concerns about the protection of memorials to those who have been killed fighting for their country in war.

However, neither cause is served by the mindless thuggery that has been displayed by a minority of those associated with both camps over the last two weekends.

On both occasions, a political cause has been hijacked by elements whose primary intent is to incite violence and create trouble.

That is utterly unacceptable, and it is in all of our interests if it is stamped out.