Police clash with Protesters in London
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters including conspiracy theorists clashed with riot police at a mass rally in Trafalgar Square today organised by opponents of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions.
An army of Metropolitan Police officers moved in on angry demonstrators defying coronavirus laws against mass gatherings as they descended upon Nelson’s column in central London in their droves.
The protesters, who carried placards warning ‘this is now tyranny’ and ‘plandemic’, formed human blockades opposite the officers to stop them from making arrests before fighting broke out in front of the National Gallery.
Outnumbered officers were pushed back by the huge crowd, which began cheering and chanting ‘freedom’ while organisers of the Resist And Act For Freedom rally sold T-shirts bearing 5G conspiracy theories.
Police on horseback later moved in for a second attempt to break up the gathering in Trafalgar Square. Traffic was brought to a halt as protesters erected a blockade in a bid to prevent officers from making arrests. Some demonstrators started throwing bottles at officers, while one protester could be seen with a bloodied head.
Another protester hit a taxi after the driver beeped in frustration, then appeared to spit through the window at the driver. One protester’s large dog escaped from its lead and ran around near to the National Gallery.
The Metropolitan Police ordered the protesters to disperse or face arrest, warning that those attending the mass rally are ‘putting themselves and others at risk’ and some demonstrators had been ‘hostile’ and ‘violent’ towards officers who had attempted to ‘explain, engage and encourage them to leave’.
Protests are exempt from new legal restrictions introduced on Monday limiting groups to six, but only if it is ‘organised in compliance with Covid-19 Secure guidance’, the Government said.
It comes just a day after Mayor of London Sadiq Khan warned it is ‘increasingly likely’ restrictions will be needed in the capital, adding he was ‘extremely concerned’ about the rate of transmission in London.
Demonstrators listened to speeches by anti-mask protesters including Kate Shemirani, a suspended nurse who compared Covid restrictions to the Holocaust, and Professor Dolores Cahill of University College Dublin – who was forced to resign from an EU scientific committee in June over claims she made about the pandemic.
Their anger is directed at Government rules which compel people to wear face masks in public spaces and social distancing, while others protested against what they fear will lead to compelled vaccination.
Prof Cahill told the crowd the anti-Covid vaccine will ‘make people sick’. She claimed: ‘We want freedom, truth and love… You should not trust the Government, the doctors and the media, they are lying about the Covid-19 vaccine.
‘Vaccines have not been safety-tested, they tell you when you take a vaccine you’ll get a little bit of swelling, is that true? No. You can get multiple sclerosis and allergies, when I talk to parents, there are 12 known diseases you can get. If you’re a parent, auntie, grandparent, cousin or neighbour, we’re here to say the truth will come out.’
One protester held a banner calling for the Government’s SAGE advisers to be sacked, while another’s declared Covid-19 a ‘hoax’. Addressing the crowd to huge cheers, organiser Ms Shemirani said: ‘We are the resistance.’
In a statement today, the Metropolitan Police said: ‘Police are aware of a number of people gathered to protest today in Trafalgar Square. As indicated previously, officers have been in attendance and adopted the four Es approach to explain, engage and encourage them to leave throughout today.
‘Despite this, protesters have remained, putting themselves and others at risk. This, coupled with pockets of hostility and outbreaks of violence towards officers, means we will now be taking enforcement action to disperse those who remain in the area. Those who remain may get arrested.
‘It is important to remember that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic, and the changes have been introduced to help control the spread of the virus, keep everybody safe and save lives.
‘We encourage those in attendance to leave the area immediately.’
It follows the Metropolitan Police deploying officers across the capital city to enforce new coronavirus restrictions, which were introduced last Monday, limiting social gatherings from 30 people to six.
Yesterday the force warned: ‘It is important to remember that we are still in the middle of a global pandemic, and the changes have been introduced to help control the spread of the virus, keep everybody safe and save lives.
Hundreds of anti-lockdown protesters including conspiracy theorists have clashed with police at a mass rally in Trafalgar Square today organised by opponents of the Government’s coronavirus restrictions
The Prime Minister is looking to ditch his Rule of Six and introduce fortnight-long ‘circuit breakers’ nationwide for six months, following claims that it was ‘inevitable’ that a second wave would hit the country last night.
The Government is mulling what has been described as a ‘circuit breaker’ in a bid to stem the spread of coronavirus.
But it would not be quite as draconian as the lockdown that was imposed at the previous height of the crisis in March.
Instead it would be similar to the lockdowns that have been introduced locally in areas with high infection levels.
Restrictions would be imposed nationwide for perhaps a fortnight, in the hope that short sharp action can break the chain of transmission.