A picture and its story: Black man carries suspected far-right protester to safety
LONDON (Reuters) - "We won't do that!"
Reuters photographer Dylan Martinez heard the words on Saturday in chaotic scenes in London, when mostly peaceful anti-racist demonstrations turned into violent clashes with counter-demonstrators in the region.
Then he saw the man who had pronounced them - a black demonstrator who emerged from close combat and carried an injured white man over the shoulder in a fire engine lift.
The picture he took has gone viral on social media and was published in news bulletins. It captures a moment of high drama that matches the broader narrative - of anti-racist and far-right demonstrators fighting against each other.
"I saw a skirmish and someone who fell to the ground," Martinez recalled the moment near Waterloo Bridge in central London when he reported about protests against racism that had flared up in the city.
The two men then appeared through the crowd.
"The crowd split right in front of me. I was in the right place at the right time and was incredibly lucky from that point of view. He came quickly to me."
Martinez said the man who was carried had facial injuries and Reuters journalists at the scene said he was beaten in a fight with anti-racism protesters.
Some people in the crowd shouted that the victim of the attack was a member of the far right.
Reuters was unable to identify the victim or his political preferences. The police said they knew about the incident and the photo, but made no further comment when Reuters asked for details of the men's identity and the events.
Protests have broken out in British cities and around the world after a black man, George Floyd, died in police custody in Minneapolis on May 25.
In some cases, they have sparked counter-demonstrations by people who disagree with all of their goals and methods, including people from far-right groups.
British media identified the black man as Patrick Hutchinson, a personal trainer. In his social media account, he wrote: "We saved a life today".
Reuters spoke to Hutchinson's best friend's partner, who confirmed that it was him. Hutchinson didn't answer calls to his cell phone.
He told British Channel 4 News on Sunday that it was a "scary" scene. "It was pretty hectic, it was almost like a rush.
"... The boys went in there, they put a kind of cordon around him to prevent him from suffering more physical damage. His life was in danger.
"So I just went under, picked him up and put him on my shoulders and walked to the police with him while all the boys surrounded me and protected me and the guy I had on my shoulder."
In a statement on Sunday, police said that 113 people were arrested and 23 officers injured in the violence, none of them seriously, over the weekend.
The response on social media to the picture and the events was largely positive.
"Amidst all the ugliness, a wonderful moment of humanity," wrote the British journalist Piers Morgan in a tweet that accompanied the photo.
Martinez, a seasoned photographer who is Reuters' image editor for the UK and Ireland, said Saturday's protests in London were fluid and unpredictable.
After experiencing sporadic, minor clashes between protesters and police in Trafalgar Square, Martinez said he had drawn attention to the nearby Waterloo Bridge, where several hundred anti-racism protesters had gathered.
"You took over the entire bridge," he said. "There was a traffic jam from south to north, but the atmosphere was good - cars honked and people celebrated."
The mood quickly became ugly when they encountered a group of counter-demonstrators and clashes occurred, Martinez said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, Paul Sandle and Mike Collett-White; writing by Mike Collett-White)
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