Police arrest 36 after anti-lockdown protest in London

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Police in London say thirty-six arrests have been made by officers policing the protest gatherings in and around central London on Saturday.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said the arrests were majorly for breaching COVID-19 protocols.

The #EndTheLockdown protests occurred and thousands of demonstrators gathered after more than 60 Members of Parliament called on home secretary, Priti Patel to ease coronavirus restrictions for protests.

Under current restrictions, it is unlawful for groups to gather for protests and police warned people on Saturday not to head to central London for planned demonstrations, including the anti-lockdown protest.

According to the police statement, a  significant number of officers from across the Metropolitan Police were part of the policing operation, with many re-directed from frontline duties in local communities.

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“While the large majority of people in attendance caused no trouble, officers did encounter pockets of disorder with crowds throwing bottles and other missiles and a number of officers were assaulted,” the statement read in part.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Laurence Taylor, who led today’s policing operation, said: “This was another challenging day for our officers and I would like to thank them for their professionalism.

“Throughout the day, officers sought first to engage with people who had gathered to explain that their actions were unlawful under the COVID-19 regulations, and encouraged them to go home to help protect themselves and others during this public health crisis.

“Where this approach did not work and officers were met with hostility, police enforced the regulations and made arrests.

DAC Taylor added: “We once again saw police come under fire from missiles thrown by people in crowds, and several were injured as a result of targeted assaults. It is totally unacceptable and saddening that officers enforcing regulations that are there to protect us all were the victims of violent attacks. I wish them a speedy recovery.

“Many of those on duty in central London today should have been in their local communities dealing with violent crime and other local issues, but they played a role in reducing the risk of COVID-19 spreading by dispersing crowds.”

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