Pro-Ukraine counter-demonstrators led by activist Peter Tatchell clashed in central London with activists demanding that Britain stop supplying arms to the country.
Tatchell yelled “Chamberlain”, a reference to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s policy of appeasing Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime, in response to protesters who angrily accused him of being an “American puppet”.
He was one of a group of 30 who broke up a demonstration by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Stop the War coalition outside the BBC Broadcasting House.
His fellow protesters chanted “gun, gun, gun Ukraine, end the reign of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin” and “self-defense is not a crime.”
Tatchell told the PA news agency: “We are here to protest Stop the War over their opposition to Ukraine. His stance would leave Ukraine defenseless and would result in Russia occupying and annexing all of Ukraine.
“Russia is a fascist and imperialist state, and all progressive people must oppose the Putin regime and Russia’s aggressive war.
“We should arm Ukraine the same way we armed the anti-Nazi resistance during World War II. This is a war between Ukrainian democracy and Russian fascism.”
His group held a banner reading “Victory for Ukraine, Arm Ukraine to Defeat Russian Imperialism.”
CND and Stop the War claim that the invasion of Russia was partly caused by “NATO expansion” into Eastern Europe.
Its protesters carried banners reading “Peace Now!”, “No War” and “Wages Not Guns,” with one man blowing up an inflatable anvil reading: “Is this anvil really cast iron? Are they the alibis for the Biden gang?
Stop the War organizer Terina Hine, 54, said Ukraine would become the “Afghanistan of Europe” if she and her supporters did not stop “backing Putin in a corner.”
She told PA: “If we continue to corner Putin, there is a very good chance that it will escalate to a nuclear level.
“The war is likely to be very long and protracted, and if it continues as it has until now, it will cause thousands and thousands of deaths and Ukraine will become the Afghanistan of Europe.
“The war will eventually end with peace negotiations. So why not do that now?
“Anyone who has dared to mention anything to that effect has been accused of being a traitor, or an appeaser or any of those other terms that are used as a line of attack against people who just want peace.”
Tom Unterrainer, 42, the CND chairman, said negotiations were inevitable and said there was no reason to delay them.
He told PA: “Everyone knows that this will end with negotiations. Everyone knows that this will end diplomacy.
“So the only question on the table now is how much destruction there will be in Ukraine, how many Ukrainians will die, and how much closer we will get to the nightmare of nuclear use.
“Since there is wide recognition that this conflict will end in negotiation, since there is such a clearly posed nuclear threat, now is the time to negotiate. We don’t have time to wait.”