LONDON — Eight men have been arrested on suspicion of trespassing and criminal damage after storming the Azerbaijan Embassy in central London on Thursday.
Metropolitan Police confirmed the arrests tonight after video footage showed a group of men from the Mahdi Servants Union on the balcony of the government building, based in the upmarket borough of Kensington.
In a series of clips shared on Twitter, they can be seen waving their distinctive blue flag while writing messages on the wall in Arabic with white paint.
Some were using head dresses, or a keffiyeh, to cover their faces as they chanted messages to the crowds who had gathered below, before replacing the Azerbaijani flag with their own.
One video showed the building on Kensington Court cordoned off as several police officers with helmets and shields prepared to storm inside.
The Mahdi Servants Union is a Shia Muslim organisation headed by the cleric Yasser Al Habib.
Members associated with the group have cited the Azerbaijani government’s persecution of some Shia Muslims in the country.
In a statement, the group said it had been ordered by its leader to take “urgent action” against Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.