21 arrested at anti-lockdown protest in London, Met says

Some 21 people have been arrested amid anti-lockdown protests held near parliament Square in central London. Wednesday’s demonstrations took place just days after England was placed in a national lockdown due to rising Covid-19 cases. Video and images posted to social media show a large police presence and a number of demonstrators being removed from the scene.

Earlier today, the Met’s deputy assistant commissioner, Laurence Taylor, warned those planning to protest to “stay at home”. He said: “For those planning on demonstrating, you are reminded of your obligation to adhere to the government guidelines and stay at home. “If people are found to be in breach of regulations, put in place to keep the public safe, then they can expect to see enforcement from officers.

“This will not just be organisers of the gatherings but participants too – by now everyone knows their part to play in stopping the spread of the virus.” The arrests came as the UK reported surging numbers of coronavirus cases and deaths. A further 1,041 people have died after testing positive for the disease – the highest daily death toll sine April.

Some 62,322 new coronavirus infections were also logged – the highest daily rise since mass testing began.

In total, the country has recorded more than 2.7 million cases and over 76,00 deaths, official figures show.

Mr Taylor said “people that gather as part of this protest today risk the health of Londoners”.

He said: “I will not tolerate this and that is why we have a policing plan in place to disperse crowds and if necessary, take enforcement action.”

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