Covid: at least 18 people arrested during anti-lockdown protests in London

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At least 18 people have been arrested in London following anti-lockout coronavirus manifestation.

Protesters walked through the city with banners and placards, calling for “freedom” and an end to the restrictions on Covid-19.

Police were deployed outside Buckingham Palace as crowds of protesters gathered on the steps of the Queen Victoria Memorial opposite the gates, before heading to Trafalgar Square.

Protesters called for an end to the “tyranny” of the new rules amid the pandemic and voiced their opposition to vaccines.

At least two people were taken in handcuffs by officers to Trafalgar Square.

Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, also attended the protest.

A protester shouts at a police liaison officer near Buckingham Palace. Credit: Pennsylvania

The arrests were for various offenses, including violating coronavirus regulations, assaulting an emergency service worker, violent unrest and research.

There was disruption on Westminster Bridge as officers attempted to disperse the crowds.

Earlier on Saturday, around 50 people gathered in Parliament Square for a protest organized by the Stop Trump Coalition.

A pantomime cow and a group of chlorinated chickens were among the protesters who turned out to protest a proposed trade deal between Britain and the United States.

Protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square, London for a protest against lockdown restrictions Credit: Jonathan Brady / PA

Organizers said any deal negotiated would be a ‘horror story’ and a serious threat to the NHS, UK food standards and democracy.

Ahead of the weekend’s events, police had urged people to comply with Covid-19 regulations, warning that they risked committing a criminal offense if they did not.

The force said it “strongly advises” people not to attend large gatherings for their protection and that of others.

A protest in Parliament Square featured a protester dressed as Donald Trump and a pantomime cow Credit: Jonathan Brady / PA

Under current regulations, no one can participate in a gathering of more than six people outdoors unless certain exemptions apply.

The Met said officers had also received reports that unlicensed musical events (UME) were being held in the capital.

The force said the events remained illegal and that officers would shut them down and take action against the organizers.

Commander Ade Adelekan, who is leading the police operation today, said: “Throughout the day, officers handled a number of complex protests at various locations in central London.

“One protest in particular drew large numbers of protesters and I became increasingly concerned that members of the crowd were not maintaining their social distancing or adhering to the terms of their own risk assessment.“The organizers failed to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the protesters, which overturned their risk assessment. At this point, officers then took steps to disperse the crowds in the interest of public safety.“I am grateful that the vast majority of people listened to the officers and quickly left the area. Frustratingly, a small minority has become obstructive, willfully ignoring officers’ instructions and blocking Westminster Bridge.“Although the majority of the protests have ended, our law enforcement operation will continue into the night and I urge Londoners to respect the regulations, avoid congregating in large numbers and maintain their social distancing.


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