There were violent clashes last night outside the French Embassy in South Kensington as protests against the publication of topless photos of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge descended into violence.
Groups of middle age women started to arrive outside of the French Embassy at about seven o'clock and at first were content to chant slogans against what they perceive as an insult to the Royal Family. But as night fell these protesters were joined by those from the militant wing of the WI. Dressed in Laura Ashley dresses and singing 'Jerusalem' the militants attempted to breach the security cordon.
Martin James a Parasitologist who works at the Natural History Museum opposite the Embassy observed the events: "It started out peacefully the women were all laughing and singing. Many of them were popping into the museum to buy cups of tea and use the loo. But when it got darker they were joined by the militants. At that point we had to put the museum into lockdown as some in the WI do not accept us teaching Evolution."
Just after eleven o'clock a small group broke through police lines and were able to scale a fence surrounding the embassy. One of the protesters threw what is believed to be a jar of home made strawberry jam. This act was symbolic as the French have long held British preserves to be vastly inferior. Other protesters threw knitting needles.
Marc Jaques an embassy worker spoke to us from inside: "It was very frightening. They were all dressed in shapeless flower print dresses and all had, how you say, 'let themselves go a bit' they had no elegance at all. Many of them had loose skin on their arms it was a horrific sight. One of the protesters threw a disgusting jar of what they call jam through the window. Just looking at it I was violently sick."
When news broke at Midnight that an Italian magazine planned to re-publish the offensive images a group broke away and headed up the Brompton Road towards the Italian Embassy in Three Kings Yard. The Police were able to contain this breakaway near Harrods. The former owner of Harrods Mohammed Al Fayed addressed the crowed telling them that he supported their action but was arrested by police who have charged him with inciting violence. Fayed's son was killed along with Diana, Princess of Wales in France fifteen years ago having been hounded by French photographers.
There have also been violent classes outside French Embassies and Consulate buildings in Washington, New York, Canberra and Toronto. However in Canada the there has been a division in opinion with crowds rallying in support outside of the French Embassy in Montreal.