Eighteen anti-lockdown protesters have been arrested after clashing with police at a demonstration in London.
Hundreds of people marched on Parliamant after bringing traffic in Oxford Street to a standstill.
Metropolitan police confirmed that 18 people had been arrested after police moved in to try and disperse crowds on Westminster Bridge.
The force said in a statement that three officers had recieved minor injuries after trying to stop the demonstrators during the Stop The New Normal protest.
The demonstrators, carrying banners saying “Covid1984” and “Flu d’etat”, chanted “Take your freedom back, take off your masks” as they marched through the West End.
The Met Police made arrests for assaulting an emergency worker, breach of coronavirus regulations and violent disorder.
The Met took to Twitter to say that “This protest is no longer exempt from the regulations and we are asking demonstrators to leave. There is disruption on Westminster Bridge as officers continue to disperse crowds.”
The protestors had made their way to New Scotland Yard by 2.30pm and were reportedly making their way to Parliament. Around 50 people made it to Parliament Square for the protest and were playing music and dancing.
Commander Ade Adelekanation, leading the operation, said “Throughout the day, officers have been managing a number of complex protests at various locations across central London. One demonstration in particular attracted a large number of protesters and I became increasingly concerned that those in the crowd were not maintaining social distancing or adhering to the terms of their own risk assessment. Organisers did not take reasonable steps to keep protesters safe which then voided their risk assessment. At this point, officers then took action to disperse crowds in the interests of public safety. I am grateful that the vast majority of people listened to officers and quickly left the area. Frustratingly, a small minority became obstructive, deliberately ignoring officers’ instructions and blocking Westminster Bridge. Although the majority of protests have concluded, our policing operation will continue into the night and I would urge Londoners to stick to the regulations, avoid gathering in large numbers and maintain social distancing.”
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