Police arrest more than 150 people at anti-lockdown protest

Police say more than 150 people have been arrested during anti-lockdown protests in central London.

The Metropolitan Police said 155 arrests were made for crimes, including coronavirus violations, assault on a police officer and possession of drugs.

In often chaotic scenes, hundreds of protesters, including a man dressed as Santa Claus, descended on the city center on Saturday afternoon, chanting ‘freedom’ and obstructing traffic.

Activists marched from Hyde Park to Oxford Circus and Regent Street and collided with helmeted police who arrived in several vans and responded to the crowd.

The Met said agents had carried out “early interventions” to stop people from gathering and urged protesters to return home.

Police detain a man during an anti-lockdown protest in Oxford Circus, London.

Police said this included the interception of coaches transporting groups to London, and that those who did not return were either arrested or issued with fixed criminal reports.

Cops were seen struggling with people on the ground trying to hold them in various locations while onlookers scolded and filmed on their phones.

At one point, green smoke was released when protesters were surrounded by police at the top of Carnaby Street.

The largest crowd of protesters seemed to disperse near Piccadilly Circus before reforming elsewhere in the shopping district.

Protesters, including some dressed as Christmas elf, waved signs saying “All I want for Christmas is my freedom back”, “Close the masks” and “Stop controlling us”.

Police arrest more than 150 people at anti-lockdown protest

Protesters at an anti-lockdown protest in Oxford Circus, London.

Several people were handcuffed by officers, while the police action was met with cheers as protesters, many without face masks, ignored requests to go home.

Chief Inspector Stuart Bell, chief of police for the protests, said Saturday night that it had been a “challenging day” and thanked colleagues for their “professionalism”.

He added: “On Friday, we made it very clear how we would oversee this event, warning those who wished to attend that they risk facing enforcement action if they attend a meeting in London.

Police arrest more than 150 people at anti-lockdown protest

Police detain a man during an anti-lockdown protest in Oxford Circus, London.

“Today’s enforcement actions are a direct result of those individuals deliberately breaking the law and sometimes aggressively attacking our agents and causing disruption to the road network.

‘Our police plan will continue late into the evening and I would urge anyone who has not yet dispersed to go home. By doing this, you can avoid facing enforcement action and help protect yourself and others during this health crisis. “

Home Secretary Priti Patel said earlier: “We have seen our police officers again do an incredible job to make sure they help stop the spread of this terrible virus.

Police arrest more than 150 people at anti-lockdown protest

Police at Oxford Circus during an anti-lockdown protest in London.

“The people who are protesting today have been protesting for months, and we have seen that on consecutive weekends.

“We ask everyone to be conscientious – we all know the regulations and the guidelines, we have taken these measures to save lives and prevent avoidable deaths.”

The grassroots group Save Our Rights UK, claiming to be working for democracy, appeared to be leading the protest called Unite For Freedom – Time For Action.

Police arrest more than 150 people at anti-lockdown protest

Police detain a woman during an anti-lockdown protest in Oxford Circus, London.

The group used their Twitter account all afternoon to encourage people to go to central London.

Rights groups Liberty and Big Brother Watch argued that the right to protest safely should be explicitly described as an exception in the regulations regarding England’s tiered restrictions, which are due to come into effect next week.

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