Video footage of a woman allegedly being arrested for sitting on a park bench was ‘stage-managed’ by anti-COVID protesters Dorset police have said.
Woman arrested for ‘sitting on park bench’ was ‘staged-managed’ police say: The video, which shows a woman in Bournemouth being handcuffed and taken away as she protests that she was “only sitting on a bench”, has been posted online and viewed by thousands of people. However, police believe that members of an anti-lockdown protest group who were in the town on Saturday had planned and stage-managed the whole thing.
Following the demonstration three people were arrested who refused to give their personal details in order to be fined the police said. Mark Callaghan, Dorset Police’s Assistant Chief Constable, said “We believe this video was planned, stage-managed and recorded by members of the protest group who turned up in multiple areas, several of whom refused to engage and provide their details. If people refuse to give their details in such circumstances then it leaves officers with little option but to arrest until the details are established.
Our officers would only arrest as a last resort. The three people were subsequently released after two gave their details and the third had theirs verified by police.
Beforehand, the police had tried unsuccessfully to contact the protest organisers to ask them not to go ahead, with no luck. Mr Callaghan went on to say in a statement that “It was clear that the group were deliberately organising their activities, walking around in twos and then trying to come together in a ‘flash mob’ style approach, as they have done previously.
This activity went on for a couple of hours.” He finished off by saying that a ‘notable number’ of protesters had travelled a fair distance to take part, which was against the lockdown rules. In a separate incident Met Police reported 16 arrests had been made after a protest took place at Clapham Common, south-west London on Saturday.
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