Police have warned “masked criminals seeking to run amok” during the Million Mask March that they will be arrested if the protest turns violent.
Clad in Guy Fawkes masks, thousands of supporters of Anonymous, the anarchic hacking collective, are expected to descend on central London on Saturday.
The annual protest is one of many similar marches held worldwide on November 5. Its agenda is broadly anti-capitalism and pro-civil liberty.
Last year’s march saw ugly scenes as missiles and fireworks were thrown at police. Four officers and six police horses were injured.
More than 1,000 people are estimated to have taken part and there were more than 50 arrests.
Ahead of the event, Metropolitan Police Commander BJ Harrington said it was apparent that some only went along “intent on criminality”.
He added: “Last year we saw participants causing criminal damage to public property, smashing the windows of businesses and attacking police officers all whilst harassing and intimidating families as they visited theatres, dined out or shopped in the West End.
“The public found this completely unacceptable. This was not peaceful protest by any measure. Those who chose to behave like this are not protesters, they are criminals, and they undermine the thousands of people who protest responsibly and safely in London every year.
“As we look ahead to this weekend, my message is simple: if you want to protest peacefully, that is your right and we want to work with you.
“If you commit criminal acts – that is not peaceful protest – and you are liable to be arrested.”
However, protest organisers Million Mask March London appeared to be putting on a defiant front, posting on their Facebook page that “the police are not your friends”.
In a press release, it called on “the Metropolitan Police to restrain from violence and their usual mob mentality”.
Almost 20,000 people have said on Facebook that they will attend the event.