LONDON — A photograph that went viral globally this week of a Black Lives Matter protester hoisting an injured white man, suspected of being a far-right demonstrator, onto his shoulder to extricate him from a violent scrum contained an essential mystery: Who was the man being saved?

He is a former cop.

The white man being rescued in London by a black man in the now famous image was identified as Bryn Male, 55, a former police officer and detective constable for the British Transport Police, the service committed to protect rail passengers from crime.

He was saved from a bloody melee by Patrick Hutchison, 49, a personal trainer who also works for a security company.

Both men are grandfathers, British news outlets reported.

Male was among hundreds of right-wing protesters who took to the streets of London on Saturday, ostensibly to defend national monuments — including a statue of Winston Churchill — from Black Lives Matter protesters. The Churchill monument earlier was vandalized by graffiti branding the wartime leader a racist. Another demonstrator tried to set a Union flag on fire while on top of the Cenotaph, a memorial to Britain’s war dead.

Male is described as a committed fan of the Millwall soccer team, known for its rowdy supporters. He has a tattoo honoring the team on his calf.

A fellow supporter of the club said Male is “a patriotic Brit, England through and through,” according to the Daily Mail. Another told the newspaper that Male is part of a group of soccer fans who often attend protests in London.

Some of the white counter-demonstrators on Saturday attacked police. Journalists at the scene reported that many of the men appeared drunk.

Andrew Banks, 28, of Stansted, Essex, a protester on Male’s side of the fractured politics in Britain, was photographed urinating next to a memorial to Keith Palmer, a police officer who was stabbed to death in a 2017 terrorist attack at Westminster.

Banks later said he had consumed 16 pints of beer the night before and could not find a toilet. He was sentenced to 14 days in jail for offending public decency.

Male retired from the British Transport Police in 2014, the agency confirmed, and now works as a delivery driver, his family said.

Speaking to the Sun newspaper, Male’s son, Harry Male, 21, said his father suffered a black eye following the protest.

Asked if his father would like to thank Hutchinson, Harry Male told the newspaper: “He probably would. Who wouldn’t?”

Male now lives in Basingstoke, a town about 55 miles west of London.

The Basingstoke Gazette newspaper reported that he is also the vice chairman of a private members club. His description on the website says he “spends most of his time holding court in the Sports Bar but does sometimes venture into the lounge. Millwall fan.”

Hutchinson told ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” show on Wednesday that Male had not tried to contact him. Asked if he could have a conversation with him, he said, “I don’t have much to say to him, or anything to say to him.”

The broadcaster also aired a video posted on Instagram showing the moment Hutchinson’s 10-year-old daughter saw him on television. She and her friends, standing inches from the television, jumped up and down, squealing with delight.

British tabloids, even right-wing ones, called Hutchinson a “hero,” and accolades poured forth on social media from politicians and ordinary folk. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said, “Patrick Hutchinson’s instincts in that moment represent the best of us.”

Johnson disparaged the right-wingers protesting that day, calling them “far-right thugs and bovver boys.” A “bovver boy” in British slang is a hooligan, often a skinhead, who creates trouble.

“It was right that a good number should have been arrested,” Johnson said in a column in the Daily Telegraph. “They were violent. They were aggressive towards the police. They were patently racist. There is nothing that can excuse their behaviour.”

The fallout from the Black Lives Matter movement continues to reverberate in Britain and around the world

England’s Premier League, the richest soccer league in the world, resumed its season on Wednesday night, with players taking a knee and wearing jerseys that said “Black Lives Matter” on the back in place of their names.