British police arrest 19 people in London to protest social displacement


LONDON (Reuters) – London police arrested 19 people on Saturday for deliberately breaking social distancing guidelines to protest the rules, the first weekend since Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a slight easing lock of England.

Metropolitan police said a group in central London, Hyde Park, had protested the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and had not responded to repeated requests for dispersal.

“It was disappointing that a relatively small group in Hyde Park came together to protest the regulations in flagrant violation of the directives, putting themselves and others at risk of infection,” said Laurence Taylor, Deputy Commissioner assistant to the Metropolitan Police, in a press release. .

“The officers again took a measured approach and attempted to urge the group to disperse. They clearly had no intention of doing so, which resulted in the arrest of 19 people and the issuance of 10 fixed prison terms for 10 others. “

Johnson outlined plans to make the lockout easier on Sunday, and people in England are now allowed to meet someone from a different household in a park. However, social distance must be maintained in accordance with the rules and gatherings of large groups are not allowed.

The protesters represented a minority of those met by police on Saturday, said Taylor.

“It was nice to see that people largely followed government directives. Where they weren’t, and after we signed up with them, they were quickly, “he said.

Report by Alistair Smout; additional reports from Peter Nicholls; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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