Three officers hurt and 18 arrested as anti-mask protesters clash with police

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Three police officers have been hurt and 18 arrested made as anti-mask protesters clashed with police in London on Saturday.

Protesters travelled from all over the country to campaign against restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

They were urged to join the protest "against Covid scam and tyranny" in a call to arms on social media.

Demonstration began at 12pm at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park, before a march set off through central London.

Many protesters could be seen not wearing masks during the march.

And now London's Met Police has confirmed that arrests have been made for offences including breaching Coronavirus regulations, assaulting an emergency service worker, violent disorder and for being wanted.

The Met Police said that all crowds have now been dispersed, but its policing plan will continue into the evening.

Commander Ade Adelekan, leading today’s police 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.

  • Wales lockdown sees winter clothes and cleaning supplies deemed non-essential

“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.”

Speaking ahead of the march, Louise Creffield, the founder of Save Our Rights UK, one of the organisations behind the demonstration, said: “We believe that the coronavirus regulations that are in place are not proportionate and appropriate, and are causing more harm than good.

“We are very concerned with protecting people’s human rights: right to privacy, family life, bodily autonomy, medical freedoms, and so on. We are not just concerned with lockdowns per se, we are concerned with the infringements with our privacy by having this track and trace everywhere.

“The impact of the actions taken by the government are numerous, so we are not willing to support that, and we are keen to take a stance.”

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  • London
  • Lockdown
  • Coronavirus

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