Orpington MP Gareth Bacon has slammed the assault of police officers at anti-racism protests in London throughout the weekend, while also criticising demonstrators for potentially “throwing away” progress made in the fight against coronavirus.

Thousands flocked to the Black Lives Matter-inspired protests across the country over the weekend in a bid to draw attention to and end systemic racism, highlighted by the death of US man George Floyd who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

While protests across the UK were largely peaceful, 135 people were arrested in the capital after clashing with police, prompting Mr Bacon – who also sits on Bexley Council and the London Assembly – to slam the actions of offenders.

“I am appalled by the scenes of violence, lawlessness, and desecration we’ve witnessed over the weekend,” he said on Monday night.

“The death of George Floyd in the USA was a disgusting act of police brutality, and I am pleased that those responsible have been arrested and charged.

“However, assaulting British police officers – who protect all of us every day and who are committed to rooting out racism – is disgraceful. They are not responsible for a brutal act that another country’s police officers committed thousands of miles away.”

The MP on Monday asked Home Secretary Priti Patel in Parliament what action would be taken against protestors breaking the law, with the secretary responding police would pursue those responsible for vandalism and assaulting police.

On the same day Mr Bacon was among ‘Blue Collar Conservative’ MPs who attempted to remove spray paint from the Winston Churchill memorial at Parliament Square after it was vandalised on the weekend.

They were asked to stop shortly after by a heritage warden who warned they risked damaging the statue.

The MP subsequently said those responsible for graffiting statues would be “held to account for their appalling actions”, and slammed protestors for defying lockdown objections.

“It is incredibly disappointing to see thousands of people break lockdown,” he said.

“Coronavirus is still a very real threat, and these protests risk throwing away all the progress we have made in getting this cruel virus under control.

“It is a selfish act to break lockdown restrictions – and I would urge anyone considering of joining future protests to find a new safe, legal, and peaceful way to demonstrate that doesn’t put people’s lives at risk.

“Finally, desecrating The Cenotaph, Winston Churchill’s statue, and a statue of Abraham Lincoln is abhorrent.

“These monuments commemorate the heroes who defeated fascism, protected our freedom, and ended slavery in the USA. These acts are stupid and counterproductive.

“Anyone responsible for the scenes this weekend will be held to account for their appalling actions.”