Winston Churchill's Image Removed from Worldwide Google Results as Statue is Covered in London

Google has apologized after images of Winston Churchill were temporarily unavailable when you searched for the former British prime minister online.

The search engine insisted there was nothing untoward after a glitch meant a photo of Churchill had disappeared from their results of "British Prime Ministers" and "WW2 Generals," while other leaders were not.

Google said the photo went down by accident and they quickly sought to address the issue.

Theories posted on social media suggested that the disappearance of Churchill's photo was connected to a statue commemorating him being boarded up in central London's Parliament Square.

Some suggested the statue may have been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters. The words "is a racist" was graffitied on the monument to the war time leader during a previous BLM protest.

"We're aware an image for Sir Winston Churchill is missing from his Knowledge Graph entry on Google," the company said in a statement. "This was not purposeful and will be resolved. Images in such panels are automatically created & updated. During an update, they can briefly disappear.

"If a Knowledge Graph image is missing due to an update, the subject will be named but lack an image in anything automatically generated from the Knowledge Graph. This is why Churchill's image (but not his name) is missing from some lists.

"The image issue only applies to Knowledge Graph-generated information. Many images of Churchill are easily found through both web and image searching on Google."

Google added that similar issues occurred with other British prime ministers such as Stanley Bladwin, Harold Wilson and Ramsey MacDonald.

"We're exploring why the first terms for Churchill, Wilson, MacDonald and Baldwin are not shown. It might be that our systems are only displaying the last term of prime ministers who had non-consecutive terms. We'll seek to address this to avoid any unintentional concern."

In an update, Google confirmed that the issue has been fixed and Churchill's photo once again appears in his knowledge panel and Knowledge Graph-related lists.

"Again, this was not purposeful," Google tweeted. "Our apologies for the concerns caused."

Several BLM protests were cancelled in London on Saturday over fears there would be violent clashes between them and far-right groups who planned to arrive in London the same today, claiming they would be there to protect Churchill's statue from vandalism.

A total of 113 were arrested as demonstrators, some of whom were seen giving Nazi salutes, fought with police in central London. Nearly two dozen police officers were injured as a result of the violence.

"The scenes officers encountered across central London yesterday were utterly shocking. Once again, they were pelted with missiles, or challenged by groups of men intent on violence," Metropolitan Police Commander Bas Javid said in a statement.

"Mindless hooliganism such as this is totally unacceptable and I am pleased arrests were made. We will now work closely with the courts in pursuit of justice.

"I would like to thank those officers who showed enormous bravery in confronting violent behaviour, including our colleagues from British Transport Police and the City of London Police."

A cushion with a portrait of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill is seen on the cladding around his statue as members of far right groups gather in Parliament Square, central London on June 13, 2020 STANSALL / AFP/Getty