Police make arrests at anti-lockdown protest in central London

Police have made a series of arrests at an anti-lockdown protest as large crowds gathered in central London.

Demonstrators made their way through the city with banners and placards, calling for “freedom” and an end to Covid-19 restrictions.

Police were deployed outside Buckingham Palace as crowds of protesters gathered on the steps of the Queen Victoria memorial opposite the gates, before making their way to Trafalgar Square.

Demonstrators called for an end to the “tyranny” of new rules amid the pandemic and voiced their opposition to vaccines.

At least two people were led away in handcuffs by officers at Trafalgar Square.

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Photos: PA

Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, also attended the protest.

The Metropolitan Police said at least 10 people were arrested and that the demonstration failed to comply with the terms of their risk assessment, Government guidelines and people were not maintaining social distancing.

There was some disruption on Westminster Bridge as officers tried to disperse crowds.

Earlier on Saturday, around 50 people gathered in Parliament Square for a protest organised by the Stop Trump Coalition.

A pantomime cow and a group of chlorinated chickens were among demonstrators who turned out to protest against a proposed trade deal between Britain and the US.

Organisers said any negotiated deal would be a “horror story” and a serious threat to the NHS, UK food standards and democracy.

Ahead of the weekend’s events police had urged people to comply with Covid-19 regulations, warning that they may be at risk of committing a criminal offence if they did not.

The force said they “strongly advise” people not to attend any large gatherings for the protection of themselves and others.

Under current regulations, no-one can participate in a gathering of more than six people outdoors unless certain exemptions apply.

The Met said officers had also received information that unlicensed music events (UMEs) were being organised across the capital.

The force said these events remain illegal and officers will shut them down and take action against organisers.

Ade Adelekan, police gold commander for Saturday, said: “Everybody has a personal responsibility to stick to the regulations and help prevent the transmission of coronavirus.”

He said the force would not allow the health of Londoners to be put at risk and added they would take action against groups or individuals “who flagrantly and dangerously breach these rules”.

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